Blog: Leonie BarrieTop Marks in RSPCA awards

Leonie Barrie | 12 October 2006

M&S has been unveiled as the winner of the fashion category of the RSPCA Good Business Awards 2006 with Topshop receiving recognition for making steps to improve animal welfare. OK, so there were only two entrants in the category – but what matters of course is that they are blazing a bright trail for others in fashion to follow.

Even so, it’s a shame that out of the UK fashion industry as a whole, only two high street stores saw fit to go public on their animal welfare policies and enter the awards. After all, ethical consumerism is now worth a staggering GBP25.8bn a year according to the Ethical Consumerism Report 2005.

M&S enforces a strict no fur policy, and only sources leather produced as a by-product of the meat industry rather than from animals reared solely for their skins. Other initiatives it has embarked upon include a partnership project to improve animal welfare standards for leather production in India; and progress in researching alternatives to the painful practice of merino sheep ‘mulesing’ with the Australian wool industry. Over the past year it has also gone out of its way to publicise its ethical commitments – and this must surely have contributed to its most recent 10.5% rise in non-food sales.


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