MPs have launched a new inquiry into the UK fashion industry’s devastating environmental impact.
According to a 2018 Harpers Bazaar report, In a bid to boost sustainability, the House of Commons’ Environmental Audit Committee will investigate the carbon, resource use and water footprint of clothing throughout its lifecycle. The committee will also examine how clothes can be recycled in the near future.
The initiative comes amid growing concerns that ‘fast fashion’ is fuelling a serious repurchasing habit, as consumers strive to buy into the latest trends, according to a 2018 Harpers Bazaar report.
The committee’s chairwoman Mary Creagh said the way we design, make and discard clothes has “a huge environmental impact”, adding: “Producing clothes requires toxic chemicals and produces climate-changing emissions. Every time we put on a wash, thousands of plastic fibres wash down the drain and into the oceans. We don’t know where or how to recycle end-of-life clothing.”
The environmental impact of the fashion industry has come under scrutiny before. A report last year by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation found that if the global fashion industry continues on its current growth path, it could use more than a quarter of the world’s annual carbon budget by 2050.
According to a 2018 The Telegraph report, fast fashion, which focuses on speed and low costs in order to deliver frequent new collections inspired by the catwalk, has been spearheaded by high street stalwarts like Topshop, Primark and H&M, as well as online-only brands such as Asos and Boohoo.com, which offer cheap clothing that can easily be disposed of and repurchased once a new trend comes along.
The popularity of these fashion giants have helped boost the UK fashion industry, which contributed £28.1bn to national GDP in 2015, up from £26bn in 2013, found the British Fashion Council, according to a 2018 The Telegraph report.