The Environmental Audit Committee, which is currently investigating the sustainability of the fashion industry, has invited Asos, Amazon, Boohoo, Missguided, and PrettyLittleThing to give evidence in Parliament.

The chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, Mary Creagh MP, has written to the five leading online-only retailers to request information on staff wages, the life-cycle of the garments sold, and steps being taken to reduce the environmental and social impact of their businesses.

The calls for the fast fashion bosses to answer questions follows the evidence heard by the Committee on October 30, which stated that the buying practices of some online fashion retailers may be putting British clothing manufacturers in a position where they can only afford to pay garment workers illegally low wages.

In addition, concerns were also raised about the low-quality of some ‘fast fashion’ garments and the excessive waste that this business model is generating.

In a statement, Creagh said: “Our recent evidence hearing raised alarm bells about the fast-growing online-only retail sector. Low-quality 5 pound dresses aimed at young people are said to be made by workers on illegally low wages and are discarded almost instantly, causing mountains of non-recycled waste to pile up.

“We will be calling some of these online retailers in front of the Committee to answer questions, but in the meantime, my letters encourage them to face up to the social and environmental consequences of their business models. We want to know that they are fully compliant with employment law, that garments have a decent life-span, and that profit is not put before environmental damage. I look forward to the responses.”

The committee has stated that it will publish written responses once they are received, including nil returns.


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