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Going Green: Fashion needs to get more ethical, say shoppers


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European shoppers want to know more than ever about where their clothes are coming from, according to Fashion Revolution.

Shoppers in the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain are increasingly considering the social and environmental impacts their fashion leaves, and are expecting the government and fashion brands to show that they are addressing these issues.

Credit: Mehera Shaw for Fashion Revolution

The research has revealed that people believe fashion brands should be adhering to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals for 2030.

Climate change, global poverty, environmental protection and gender inequality are all issues that consumers are concerned about, with environmental factors considered most important. 85% listed climate change and 88% environmental protection as key issues.

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68% agree that the government has an involvement in ensuring that all clothing, including shoes and accessories, are sustainably produced, whilst more Generation Z and Millennials (ages 16-34) said they consider the social and environmental impacts when buying their clothing. Consumers want to know that their purchases aren’t heavily contributing to the increasing worry of climate change. Ultimately, they’re increasingly conscious of their purchases.

Following many high fashion designers' bans on fur within their clothing lines, many consumers want to know that the environment and the people who made the clothes weren’t harmed, and that no animals were tested upon. Data shows that more women (36%) than men (27%) said buying clothing made without harming animals was important.

The vast majority agreed that fashion brands should be required by law to:

- Respect the human rights of everyone involved in making their product (77%)

- Protect the environment at every stage of making their product (75%)

- Provide information about the social impacts of their business (68%)

- Provide information about the environmental impacts of their business (72%)

- Say if they are paying the workers who make their products a fair, living wage (72%)

Fashion Revolution’s Fashion Transparency Index, which reviews and ranks 150 major global brands and retailers according to their social and environmental policies, practices and impacts, found that top ranking global brands scored 51-60 out of a possible 250 points in 2018. 

When purchasing from a clothing brand, most consumers said it’s important for fashion brands to:

- Publish how products are sustainable on the packaging (72%)

- Explain what products are made from on the packaging (77%)

- Make it clear where they source materials, ingredients and components from and who manufactured the product (77%)

- Share detailed information about wages and working conditions for people in its global supply chain (66%)

- Provide information about how they apply socially responsible practices (70%)

- Provide information about how they apply environmentally responsible practices (74%)


80% of consumers surveyed think that fashion brands should publish which factories are used to manufacture their clothes, and 77% think the suppliers used to produce their clothing and the materials used in their garments should be published.

The online poll of 5,000 people was conducted across the five largest EU markets by Ipsos MORI for Fashion Revolution

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