The fast fashion regulation bill titled House Bill 2068, would mean large fashion retail sellers and fashion manufacturers would need to establish, track, and disclose progress towards due diligence and environmental performance targets from 1 January 2027.

If the targets are not meant the Department of Ecology could issue penalties that would need to be deposited into a community benefit account.

The bill explained the expenditures from the account could be used for the purpose of implementing one or more environmental benefit projects that directly and verifiably benefit overburdened communities and vulnerable populations.

Local news publication Northwest News Network reported that some fashion retailers, such as Patagonia and Cotopaxi support the bill. However, it claimed Brandon Housekeeper, a lobbyist with the NW Grocery Association could see problems with it but would work with lawmakers to help bring transparency to the fashion sector.

Ken Pucker, who worked as chief operating officer at the footwear and apparel company Timberland, reportedly said at the hearing that fashion carbon emissions are only increasing, even when companies work to reduce emissions. He added that because of the global supply chain Timberland wasn’t able to regulate 98% of its global emissions.

The bill, which was sponsored by Washington State Representative Sharlett Mena, D-Tacoma states that: “In terms of greenhouse gases, the fashion industry accounts for about 8-10% of global carbon emissions, more than both aviation and shipping combined.”

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California and New York take lead on fast fashion regulation

In March last year, California unveiled its Responsible Textile Recovery Act of 2023 which would require producers to establish a stewardship programme for the collection and recycling of “covered products,” including any apparel, textile, or textile article that was unsuitable for reuse by a consumer in its current state or condition.

In 2022 California also passed a bill to ban the sale of clothing and fabrics that contained harmful perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) by 2025.

New York state announced in 2022 its Fashion Sustainability and Social Accountability Act which would apply to retailers and brands with an annual turnover of more than US$100m and that operate in the state. The aim was to hold fashion brands to account for supply chain failings.