WAKEFIELD – UK politicians have called on the Government to change the law to require fashion retailers to perform due diligence across their supply chains and have recommended tax breaks for companies that comply with environmental and social standards – while at the same time, punishing firms that don’t.

“Fashion shouldn’t cost the earth. But the fashion industry has marked its own homework for too long,” says the group of cross-parliamentary MPs, in a report published today by the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC). “Voluntary corporate social responsibility initiatives have failed significantly,” they said, urging the UK Government to extend its proposed 2022 tax on plastics to certain textile products; and calling for retailers to take responsibility for their waste by creating incentives to recycle.

“The Government must change the system to end the throwaway society,” says the new EAC report Fixing Fashion: clothing consumption and sustainability, which also wants UK retailers to: “pay for the funding of the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP),” a government 2020 initiative run by WRAP – an organisation which has seen its funds slashed from £56 million in 2009, to less than £10 million now.

University of Leeds lecturer Dr Mark Sumner, who was called to give evidence to the inquiry, told Ecotextile News that its findings “shine the light on those brands and retailers that appear to be doing little to manage their considerable environmental and social impacts through their supply chains.”

Although a spokesperson for UK retailer Primark told us “We embrace the principles behind the Environmental Audit Committee’s recommendations. We recognise that there is more to be done, that is why we have already committed to launching a customer recycling scheme in our stores this year.”

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