Fast Sustainability And Social Accountability…

Just last month, a New York coalition of senators, sustainability nonprofits, and designers proposed the Fashion Sustainability and Social Accountability Act (otherwise known as the Fashion Act), which aims to hold all major brands accountable for their environmental and social impacts. The bill would require all fashion companies that sell their products in New York and generate more than $100 million in revenues to map out at least 50 percent of their supply chains and disclose impacts such as greenhouse gas emissions, water footprint, and chemical use. High fashion companies like LVMH and Prada would have to publish their business practices right alongside fast fashion giants such as Fashion Nova and Boohoo.

Should the Fashion Act pass through New York legislature, brands would have to report the total volume of materials they produce; an innovative move directed at eliminating misinformation. Fashion companies, regardless of status, often boast about reducing the impact of their materials all while still increasing their production and their total footprint along with it. With the Fashion Act, brands would be required to reduce their impacts by setting (and meeting) Science Based Targets for their greenhouse gas emissions.

To regulate labor mistreatment — a problem especially rife within the fast fashion industry — the bill asks that brands disclose the average wages of its workers, as well as what measures are in place to ensure responsible business conduct in management. As of now, fast fashion companies have only disclosed their wages unwillingly, most as a result of investigations or exposés. In 2019, a FTC investigation found that Fashion Nova underpaid Los Angeles factory workers, who were making as little as $2.77 per hour. The brand paid $3.8 million in back wages to hundreds of workers and promptly shifted most of its production abroad.