New York Makes The Nation’s First Move To Enforce Fashion Sustainability Law
By Ell Ko, 13 Jan 2022
Fashion has largely been an unregulated industry no thanks to its supply chains weaving all over the world, but its detrimental effects on the environment haven’t gone unnoticed.
Large amounts of waste and emissions come as a result of clothing production and retail processes, with many large brands coming under fire in recent years for their environmentally less-than-friendly practices including burning unsold stock.
New York is taking steps towards changing this; it’s about to become the first state in the US to implement a fashion sustainability law.
On January 7, the Fashion Sustainability and Social Accountability Act (S7428 / A8352) was announced by Senator Alessandra Biaggi and Assembly Member Anna Kelles.
According to the legislation made available on the New York State Senate website, this “requires fashion retail sellers and manufacturers to disclose environmental and social due diligence policies.”
Failure to do so will invoke penalties that contribute to a “community benefit fund,” which will introduce at least one project that will “directly and verifiably” benefit environmental justice communities.
This, as reported by The Fashion Law, could entail up to 2% of the company’s annual revenue alongside a “non-compliance status.”
The National Law Review also notes that this would mean companies will need to map out at least 50% of their supply chains from beginning to end, in accordance with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
Other than this, they’ll also need to disclose information to do with social and environmental impact—greenhouse gas emissions, in particular.
Then, the firm will also be required to draw up Science-Based Targets—set in accordance with the Paris Agreement’s goal to keep global warming at 1.5ºC (34.7ºF)—for improvement.
“It’s not just New York-based companies; that’s really important,” Maxine Bédat, founder of the New Standard Institute, tells the publication. The act, therefore, has the potential to change the way the entire industry operates.
“We’ve had some voluntary commitments but there isn’t a lot of pressure on companies right now,” she further explains. “This type of legislation would make sure that no company can exploit the environment and labor and use that as a competitive edge.”
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