The government has rejected all the recommendations made by the Environmental Audit Committee (ECA) in February with the aim to “end the era of throwaway fashion”.
Recommendations included the introduction of a 1p tax per garment to producers to reduce textile waste; a ban on incinerating or landfilling unsold stock that can be reused or recycled; mandatory environmental targets for fashion retailers with a turnover above £36m; and a call for the fashion industry to come together to create a blueprint for a net zero emissions world, reducing its carbon consumption back to 1990 levels.
It was also suggested that the scheme should reward fashion companies that design products with lower environmental impacts and penalise those that do not and for the government to use the tax system to shift the balance of incentives in favour of reuse, repair and recycling. MPs also suggested that the government publish a publicly accessible list of retailers required to release a modern slavery statement.
ECA chair Mary Creagh MP said: “Fashion producers should be forced to clear up the mountains of waste they create. The Government has rejected our call, demonstrating that it is content to tolerate practices that trash the environment and exploit workers despite having just committed to net zero emission targets.
“The government is out of step with the public who are shocked by the fact that we are sending 300,000 tonnes of clothes a year to incineration or landfill. Ministers have failed to recognise that urgent action must be taken to change the fast fashion business model which produces cheap clothes that cost the earth.”
She added: “We presented the government with the evidence that it has failed to stop garment workers in this country being criminally underpaid, despite its claim that the number of national minimum wage inspectors has increased.
“The public has a right to know that the clothes they buy are not produced by children or forced labour, however the government hasn’t accepted our recommendations on the Modern Slavery Act to force fashion retailers to increase transparency in their supply chains.
“This is plain wrong. The EAC will be closely monitoring steps that the government claims it is taking to address the problems exposed in our report.”