A parliamentary committee has announced that UK retailers are failing to promote environmental sustainability, reports The Guardian.
A number of major retailers - including Amazon UK, JD Sports, Sports Direct and TK Maxx - "were found to be lagging behind the rest of the industry when it came to their commitment to environmental sustainability and labour market initiatives", the Environmental Audit Committee document revealed.
“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,” stated the interim report, while further singling out Amazon UK, a patron of the British Fashion Council, for its ‘notable’ lack of engagement with questions put by the Committee.
Following the revelations that Burberry was burning unused products in 2017, the committee approached 16 of the UK's leading retailers to further understand the industry's impact on the environment.
Emerging from the study, it was Burberry, ASOS, Tesco, Marks & Spencer and Primark that proved to be the "most engaged" with issues ranging from environmental impact and sustainability through to fair pay and staff wellbeing. Engaging "moderately" were Next, Debenhams, Arcadia Group and Asda Stores. Footwear retailer Kurt Geiger did not respond to the inquiry's request for paperwork.
Not one of the "least engaged" retailers had signed up to SCAP targets in an effort to reduce their impact, with only Boohoo and Sports Direct using recycled material in their lines and TK Maxx being the sole retailer within the category to offer a take-back scheme.
Meanwhile, none of the six worst offending companies has signed up to the ACT living wage initiative and Missguided is alone in being a member of ETI (Ethical Trading Initiative).
“It’s shocking to see that a group of major retailers are failing to take action to promote environmental sustainability and protect their workers," said Mary Creagh, Labour politician and chair of the committee. "It’s disappointing that only a third of the retailers we wrote to are signed up to ACT, an important global initiative working towards getting a living wage for all garment workers."
The document released this week marks just the beginning of the full report, which will be published in the coming weeks and later used to inform governmental strategies for further addressing the matter of sustainability within the fashion industry.
The initial stage concluded by saying that the current business model for the UK fashion industry is unsustainable and that exploitative practices must end.