UK Fashion Retailers Fall Back On Sustainability

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Major UK fashion retailers are failing to promote environmental sustainability or to protect their workers, a UK parliamentary committee has said.

The retailers, which include among others, Amazon UK, JD Sports, Sports Direct and TK Maxx, have not taken any action to reduce their carbon, water and waste footprint. None of them use organic or sustainable cotton and only two – Sports Direct and Boohoo – use recycled material in their products. The interim report by the environmental audit committee singles out Amazon UK for its notable lack of engagement in sustainability.

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It said: “Though Amazon and TK Maxx are subsidiaries of international corporations that manage their initiatives, the committee believes this does not absolve them of their responsibilities.”

None of the six retailers singled out as the least engaged, have signed up to the Action, Collaboration, Transformation Living Wage Initiative (Act) or to voluntary targets in the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan to reduce carbon, water and waste footprint of UK firms.

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Its report said Next, Debenhams, Arcadia Group and Asda Stores were “moderately engaged”, while Asos, Marks & Spencer, Tesco, Primark and Burberry were the “most engaged” in addressing issues of sustainability and fair wages.

The committee wrote to 16 leading UK fashion retailers. Mary Creagh, the Labour chair of the committee, said: “It’s disappointing that only a third of the retailers we wrote to are signed up to the Act, an important global initiative working towards getting a living wage for all garment workers.”

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