Members of Parliament are asking U.K. clothing retailers to disclose information about working conditions and sustainability in their supply chains as part of an inquiry into the fashion industry.
The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) has written to 10 retailers, including Marks & Spencer, Primark, Next and Sports Direct, requesting information on how long clothes are kept, whether they use recycled materials and encourage recycling, and what steps they are taking to reduce microplastics contaminating the ocean.
The EAC said consumption of new clothing was higher in the U.K. than any other European country and clothing production had roughly doubled in 15 years. MPs said research showed 75 to 90 percent of garment workers in Leicester, a U.K. sourcing hub, were paid below the minimum wage, do not have employment contracts and were subject to “intense and arbitrary work practices.”
MPs said there were “concerns that the demand for fast fashion is fueling the need for quick turnarounds in the supply chain, leading to poor working conditions in U.K. garment factories.”
Firms are also being asked if they incinerate returned or unsold stock.
“The way we design, produce and discard our clothes has a huge impact on our planet,” said EAC chair Mary Creagh.
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