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The Saeima deputies say that the lack of action on ethics is shocking



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Fashion retailers JD Sports, Sports Direct and Boohoo are "unable to do" to reduce their environmental and social impact.

The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) also described Amazon, TK Maxx and Missguided as "least involved" in sustainable fashion and labor market initiatives.

The EAC stated that companies were "shocking" that "they are unable to act".

Boohoo said the report did not reflect its commitment to sustainability.

The results are part of the EAC inquiry into the sustainability of the fashion industry.

Investigations were triggered by "fast fashion … cheap clothing with fast turnaround that promotes redemption".

Disposable fashion has come to a fire, not only for the amount that gets into the landfill, but also because it can release toxic chemicals into the production and washing of plastic fibers.

Last summer, the committee wrote to 16 fashion retailers asking what they were doing to reduce the environmental and social impact of their clothing and footwear.

Specific issues included what brands did with organic or sustainable cotton; limiting the release of hazardous chemicals and the reuse or recycling of unsold stocks.

In the interim report, brands are classified according to their involvement in sustainable fashion and labor market initiatives.

"Most Involved" were named Asos, Marks & Spencer Tesco, Primark and Burberry.

All of them use organic or sustainable cotton and old materials and encourage customers to return old clothes.

"Medium Involved" Retailers were Next, Debenhams, Arcadia Group and Asda.

The EAC noted that each of them had taken some measures to address environmental sustainability issues.

All of them, with the exception of the Next, take back the rejected clothing return scheme, and all of them, except Asda, use organic cotton in some clothes.

Kurt Geiger is also approaching, but did not respond to requests for written evidence, EAC said.

Re-use commitment

Retailers were also asked if they were members of ACT (Action, Collaboration, Transformation) labor law and wage agreement and SCAP (Sustainable Clothing Action Plan) to reduce their footprint of carbon, water and waste.

With the exception of Burberry, all the other "middle-sized" and "most involved" retailers participated in one or both of these schemes.

Of the six least-favored retailers, none of these initiatives was a participant,

In her statement, Boohoo said she wanted to "reiterate her commitment to engage in the ongoing discussion on fashion sustainability.

"This initial report does not fully reflect the policies and procedures and independent initiatives that we have put in place or the amount of our ongoing commitment to sustainability."

JD Sports said: "We, as entrepreneurs, take part in a number of ethical initiatives outside the narrow list mentioned in the Committee's report."

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It added that most group sales were from third party brands, including "two" [Nike and Adidas] internationally recognized as industry leaders in promoting sustainability ”.

"The sale of the private label represents the rest of the Group's sales, and a project has been continued to review the possibilities for improving the sustainability of our clothing," he added.

Amazon refused to comment.

"Customers can choose"

EAC Chairman Mary Creagh said: "It is staggering to see that most retailers are unable to act to promote environmental sustainability and protect their employees.

"By publishing this information, customers can choose whether they want to spend money on a business that does little to protect the environment or promote decent wages for clothing workers.

"We hope this motivates retailers to start taking responsibility for their employees and their impact on the environment."

The Committee concluded that the current business model of the UK fashion industry was "clearly sustainable, especially with an increasing middle class population and rising consumption worldwide".

How did fashion brands do it?

"Least Involved": JD Sports, Sports Direct, Boohoo, Amazon, TK Maxx, Missguided

"Moderately Involved": Next, Debenhams, Arcadia Group, Asda.

"Most Involved": Asos, Marks & Spencer Tesco, Primark and Burberry.

Kurt Geiger did not respond to EAC requests

The Committee announced that it would publish a final report in the coming weeks, setting out recommendations for government policy to "promote a more transparent, fair and sustainable fashion system".

Francois Souchet of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation said the committee was right that "the fashion industry's current business model cannot work in the long term".

He said that a worldwide truck of second-hand clothing was buried or burned, but less than 1% of old clothing was used to make new clothes.

"We need to transform the fashion industry, so business models increase the use of clothing, clothing is made of safe and renewable materials, and old clothes are used to make new clothes."


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