Environmental Audit Committee to investigate fashion sustainability

The Environmental Audit Committee will revisit its inquiry into the sustainability of the UK’s fashion industry. 

In 2018 the committee investigated the sustainability of the fashion industry and the conditions for UK garment workers.

Following this investigation, the government rejected most of the Committee’s recommendations, which ranged from better clothing collection and recycling to requiring checks across supply chains to prevent forced or child labour.

Following recent revelations about the conditions in UK garment factories, the Committee will now re-launch their inquiry to assess the developments in the fashion industry.

Fashion production has a considerable impact on the environment. The global fashion industry is estimated to have produced around 2.1 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases in 2018; this is equivalent to the combined emissions of France, Germany and the UK.

Fast fashion also creates a waste problem. UK citizens buy more new clothes than any other European country and throw away over a million tonnes of clothing every year. While two-thirds of clothing is either donated or collected for resale or low-quality recycling, around 336,000 tonnes is disposed of in household bins destined for landfill or incineration.

The committee will reassess the UK’s fashion industry to see if any changes or developments have been made since 2018.

Environmental Audit Committee chairman, Philip Dunne, said: ‘Two years, four fashion seasons and billions of tonnes of harmful emissions from textile production later, my Committee has decided to revisit its fashion sustainability work.

‘The fashion industry has a major environmental footprint – from the extraordinary amount of water to create cotton and polyester, to the sheer scale of waste with many items being worn once and thrown away. Our thirst for the latest trends is simply unsustainable.

‘But, as we found two years ago, this inquiry goes beyond the harmful impact to the environment. Accusations of labour market exploitation in the UK remain, with poor working conditions and illegally low wages.

‘Two years on, I hope there have been some improvements in the fashion industry. We will be unearthing whether this is the case, and what more needs to be done to secure our goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.’

Photo Credit – Pixabay

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Pippa Neill

Pippa Neill

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