David Nieper has been rated 'good' by Ofsted

Educating Britain: The rise of the fast fashion fiends

Posted by: Laura O'Neil

Sun 31st October 2021

Shocking new research has highlighted the British public’s worrying views around fast fashion and its impact on the environment.

Seventy-one per cent of Brits agree that fast fashion is one of the largest contributors to the current climate crisis. However, 45 per cent have admitted that they don’t think about the environmental impact of their purchasing when buying from fast-fashion retailers.

The research also revealed that 50% of those surveyed currently purchase between one and five new items of clothing each month, which equates to a mammoth 60 items of clothing per year, per person. However, many of these purchases never see the light of day, with 41 per cent admitting that they often return items of clothing that they bought online.

Of those returning items, 56 per cent said that they don’t consider the additional impact it may have on the environment.

Shockingly, 17 per cent said that if they knew the true value of the environmental impact of their purchasing, they wouldn’t change their buying habits at all.

These worrying statistics come from new research commissioned by the Christopher Nieper Foundation, which is calling on the government to pass legislation that will require clothing manufacturers to add Carbon Checker labels, which show how environmentally friendly the garment is, to all clothing sold in the UK.

The Carbon Checker initiative is based on robust scientific models which measure and categorise a garment’s carbon footprint and translate it into a meaningful rating that allows consumers to understand the eco-credentials of their purchase at a glance, similar to food labelling and white goods.0

Carbon Checker

This would incentivise the sector to compete for the most sustainable supply chains and push the country closer to its net-zero target.

The research also found that millions of Brits believe that they should be doing more to stem their consumption of fast fashion, while 79 per cent believe that businesses should do more to inform the public of the environmental impact of the clothing they purchase.

In addition, 70 per cent think shoppers have a right to know how much carbon has been created in the manufacturing of their garments, while 59 per cent believe that all clothes should come with an environmental efficiency rating so consumers are able to make an informed choice.

Of those polled 65 per cent said they would be more likely to buy a garment if it was rated green (Eco-Friendly) over red (Environmentally damaging). While a further 41% admitted that they would change their buying habits if they knew the true environmental impact of their purchasing.

Christopher Nieper OBE, head of the foundation and CEO of clothing manufacturer David Nieper, which has been sustainably making clothes in Britain for 60 years, said: “The fashion sector is worth £26bn and Britain is a world leader in fashion design and fashion education, yet nearly everything we wear is imported.

“For too long the clothing industry has ignored the consequence of emissions which has led to long-distance supply chains and production in countries with very low proportions of sustainable energy.

“Coupling this with the UK public’s current consumption of fast fashion this has created a recipe for disaster for the world’s climate, it is time now to be better informed as a nation about the problems our consumption causes and to single out those brands not doing enough to support the move to net-zero.

“Making fashion in the UK is highly effective and the opportunity for job creation is huge. even a small increase in UK-sourced manufacturing could generate tens of thousands of new jobs here.

“If consumers knew the environmental footprint of garments at the point of purchase it would, at last, be possible to choose planet-friendly garments over planet-damaging versions.

“This, in turn, should incentivise the sector to compete for the most sustainable supply chains. Our suggested approach is to form an advisory group, a consortium of organisations that is both geographically diverse and representative of the wider UK fashion and textile industry.

“And our challenge to government is to act now and introduce carbon checker labels to give consumers a choice and our planet a chance.”

Add your voice to the Carbon Checker campaign here https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/598973

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