The fashion industry’s blissful time in Eden has come to an end. Fashion brands and retailers are being held accountable for their impact on human rights and the environment – two major grey areas that have gone under the radar for far too long.

Instances of apparel and textiles made with forced labour, such as the controversy over the Xinjiang cotton region in China, or garments being sourced from areas of conflict such as in Myanmar are now in the limelight. The new rules and regulations are designed to make every stage, right from sourcing to production to the end garment a fully transparent cycle.

Both government agencies and end consumers want to know fashion brands’ sustainability claims printed on labels and advertised in media campaigns hold some legitimacy.

This has been especially true for Europe, where the EU Parliament is voting on key due diligence legislation as part of its efforts to identify these grey areas and seek remediation if there are instances of violation.

The latest amendments to the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD), for example, incorporated a set of rules to safeguard human rights and environmental impact.

Based on this, non-compliant companies will be liable for damages and can be sanctioned by national supervisory authorities. In fact sanctions can include measures such as “naming and shaming,” taking a company’s goods off the market, or fines of at least 5% of the net worldwide turnover. With non-EU companies that fail to comply with the rules being banned from public procurement in the EU.

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However, human rights support groups and apparel labour unions like the Clean Clothes Campaign and IndustriAll have pointed out the efforts are falling short and there’s a need to address remaining loopholes.

Additionally, in a cross-continental partnership, the EU and the US are stressing the urgent need to combat forced labour and ensure a successful green transition for workers and businesses.

Fashion companies have arguably been profiting from exploitation and always hunting down the cheapest dollar for far too long so the EU’s stance will ensure fashion industry improves it reputation for good.

But what is more interesting to see is whether consumers will keep their part of the deal and shun companies that try to find loopholes in the system?

Top news stories:

European Parliament latest due diligence law push still falls short

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) announced yesterday member states will need to incorporate a set of corporate accountability amendments to safeguard human rights and environmental impact, as part of its Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD), however Clean Clothes Campaign and IndustriALL argue the new rules still don’t go far enough.

EU, US unite against forced labour in trade, labour dialogue

The discussions in Luleå, Sweden, involved key European Union (EU) and US stakeholders and aimed to devise strategies to eradicate forced labour from supply chains while promoting sustainable practices.

EU circular textiles strategy puts Europe fashion sector at risk

The European Parliament adopts recommendations for the EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles today (1 June), however the European Apparel and Textile Confederation (Euratex) argues it could push Europe out of the fashion market.

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This milestone of 200 signatories highlights the growing dedication to worker safety within the Bangladesh garment industry.

IPEF partners bolster efforts for resilient supply chain

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S.Oliver Group backs EU’s regulatory approach to due diligence

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Calls for concrete action as fashion brands’ sustainability efforts fall short

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CottonConnect, Haelixa partner to trace cotton digitally from seed to garment

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