Unfounded sustainability claims are constantly bandied around by companies looking to steal a march on competitors, without any fear of the damage this hollow rhetoric can do. Until reliable, consistent and transparent reporting can be implemented industrywide, no meaningful progress can be proclaimed. Even those firms who have achieved certifications and are heralded ‘sustainability leaders’ should be viewed with a healthy dose of scepticism, says Emma Foster-Geering, head of sustainability at Vivobarefoot.

“In an industry where control over our manufacturing supply chains is messy, certificates can be bought and regulation is often sparse and overlooked. Any sustainability claims just aren’t a given,” she said.

The past three decades have transformed fashion supply chains beyond recognition. Today’s sector produces goods that pass through globalised labyrinths which are – by coincidence or design – often impossible to trace from end to end.

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