The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has launched new guidelines to ensure that ‘vegan’ fashion items really are 100 percent free of animal products.
The Voluntary Guideline on Veganism in Fashion sets out a number of questions retailers should ask themselves before labelling something as ‘vegan’. The BRC said companies should not only cut out the use of leather, wool and natural silk in ‘vegan’ products, but they ensure that no animal products are used in other components such as glues, dyes, and chemicals.
Items should also offer consumers an alternative to products that are traditionally made using animal-derived materials.
Additionally, retailers should not claim products are sustainable simply because they are ‘vegan’. The BRC said: “‘Vegan’ relates to the absence of animal-derived materials whereas ‘sustainable’ will mean different things depending on the issue analysed (including embedded water, carbon footprint, and more."
The new guidelines come as consumers become increasingly interested in animal-free products both inside and outside of the fashion industry. But as that demand grows, so too does the risk that fashion companies might frivolously label items as ‘vegan’ to align them with the trend.
“Classing a product as vegan is a very complex process with the need for retailers to ask more questions than ever before. It not only rules out using leather and wool, but also many glues, dyes, and traces of use in more hidden elements,” the BRC said. “This means retailers would need to go back to their suppliers and ask the right questions about the raw material ingredients in order verify them individually.”
Photo courtesy of The Vegan Society