Just days into January and hot off the statute books are two significant acts. One proposed for apparel or footwear brands in New York and one already passed in Denmark. Be warned – the need for greater proof of sustainability claims (including imagery) is coming.
New York targets apparel and footwear
According to the Science Based Targets Initiative, the global apparel and footwear sector, which is set to grow 5% per year, already produces more greenhouse gas emissions than the shipping and aviation sectors combined.
The ‘Fashion sustainability and social accountability act’ would apply to any apparel or footwear brand selling in New York state and with global revenue of at least $100 million (pretty much every large multinational). These companies would be required to produce a social and environmental sustainability report. Companies would have to provide clear, transparent reporting on their energy, greenhouse gas emissions, water, plastic, recycled content and chemical management. They would also have to perform mandatory checks to avoid labor abuses. From farms for raw materials, through to factories and shipping, companies need to map a minimum of 50 percent of their supply chain.
Not meeting these requirements incurs fines of 2% of their annual revenue with the money earmarked for action on environmental justice.
Clearly, there is still a long way to get this bill passed. If it does, New York would be the first state in the US to pass legislation requiring the biggest brands in fashion to account for their role in climate change.
Something definitely not rotten in the state of Denmark…
Back in 2014, Denmark’s consumer ombudsman set out regulations against companies making unsubstantiated sustainability claims in their marketing. They had been receiving a number of questions about companies’ environmental and climate claims of products or services.
These rules have just become tighter.
From now, any company that wants to make green claims or market their product with imagery that suggests environmental sustainability will need scientific proof. The Danish consumer ombudsman recently concluded that using words like ‘green’, ‘sustainable’, CO2 netural or other eco-friendly terms need evidence. The product needs to prove it is top of its class when compared to others on the market. This would need a full cradle to grave life-cycle assessment, backed by independent experts. Misuse would lead to significant fines.
You can read MaCher’s sustainability report here where we tackle how we are approaching some of these issues. We don’t have all the answers, but we are here to help and share our experiences with you. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy to help!
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