Environmental Audit Committee Investigates UK’s Fashion Industry

The MP Mary Creagh Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, has taken the issue to the UK’s ten leading fashion retailers investigating how the UK’s fashion industry can reduce its environmental footprint.


Mary Creagh has said,

“The way we design, produce and discard our clothes has a huge impact on our planet. Fashion and footwear retailers have a responsibility to minimise their environmental footprint and make sure the workers in their supply chains are paid a living wage. We want to hear what they are doing to make their industry more sustainable.”

Some of the questions being put forward by the Environmental Audit Committee to the fashion retailers are,

  • Do they use recycled materials?
  • Whether they pay the living wage and how they make sure child labour is not being used in their supply chains.
  • What steps do they take to encourage recycling?
  • How they reduce the risk of microplastics contaminating the ocean.


The deadline for the retailers’ reply was 12th October 2018 with hearings for the inquiry due to take place soon after. The answers provided will be used by the Committee to gather recommendations which will be put forward to the Government as a basis to how these problems can be solved. It could include a call for less pollution, longer life garments or a ban on dumping clothes in a landfill.


Companies the committee has written to are:

Arcadia Group, Asda, Debenhams, JD Sports Fashion, Marks & Spencers Group, Next Retail, Primark Stores, Sports Direct International, Tesco, Tk Maxx and HomeSense


Going Forward

The Committee’s first session in the sustainable fashion inquiry took place on 30th October 2018 with MPs such as John McNally and Zac Goldsmith putting forward essential questions to the panel such as solving the problem of synthetic fibres from our clothes entering the oceans and what percentage of our clothes end up in the landfills.

On Tuesday 13th November 2018 the public hearing will take place at the Victoria and Albert Museum coinciding with their Fashioned from Nature exhibition.

Fashioned from Nature elements of the fashion lifecycle

V&A exhibition Fashioned from Nature

The public hearing will help the Committee to bring forward recommendations to the Government how the UK’s fashion industry can reduce its environmental footprint.

Watch the Committee’s first inquiry from 30th October 2018 here.