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MPs hit out at fashion retailers for lack of recycling

consumer fashion

Eight major retailers have failed to sign up to a WRAP-run commitment to slash the creation and landfilling of waste in the fashion industry, despite being urged by MPs to take action.

The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) today revealed that the big names – including Amazon, Asda and Burberry – had not agreed to take part in the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP).

More than 80 organisations have pledged to work towards a 15% cut in volumes of waste to landfill between 2017 and 2020 as part of the plan, managed by resource efficiency body WRAP.

Commitment to SCAP was one area of interest to the EAC when it wrote to 16 major clothing retailers last year asking them what they were doing to reduce the environmental and social impact of the clothes they sold.

But as well as the three firms named above, Debenhams, JD Sports, Missguided, Sports Direct and TJX Europe – which owns TK Maxx – all responded that they had not signed up to the pledge.

Six retailers – Arcadia, Asda, Amazon, JD Sports, Missguided and TJX Europe – do not use recycled material in their clothing products, according to the latest report from the committee.

And a separate six – Next, Amazon, Boohoo, JD Sports, Missguided and Sports Direct – do not offer textile banks or in-store take-back schemes for old clothing.

“Our analysis highlights that a number of retailers have not prioritised sustainability in their company policies,” said the committee report.

EAC chair Mary Creagh added:We want to see a thriving fashion industry that employs people fairly, inspires creativity and contributes to the economic success of the UK.

“It is shocking to see that a group of major retailers are failing to take action to promote environmental sustainability and protect their workers.

“By publishing this information, customers can choose whether they want to spend money with a company that is doing little to protect the environment or promote proper wages for garment workers. We hope this motivates underperforming retailers to start taking responsibility for their workers and their environmental impact.”

Letters from many of the retailers to the committee can be seen here.

A WRAP spokesperson said the body welcomed the EAC’s interim report: “It is great to see that, of the companies specifically highlighted by the EAC, nearly all that are classified as ‘engaged’ or ‘moderately engaged’ are SCAP 2020 members; while the ‘less engaged’ category contains no SCAP members.

“We are pleased also that the EAC has reported so favourably about the SCAP 2020 initiative itself.

”WRAP recently reported on the achievements of SCAP 2020 members against the targets, which showed that they continue to outperform industry in terms of reducing water, carbon and waste. We look forward to seeing the full EAC report in due course.”

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