The Fashion Act, what it is and how it can create a worldwide impact on sustainable fashion

New York wants to take the lead in sustainability regulation. Find out how the Fashion Act seeks to make history in the fashion industry.

The Fashion Act, what it is and how it can create a worldwide impact on sustainable fashion

We start 2022 with international news for the sustainable fashion industry. The Fashion Sustainability and Social Accountability Act, also known as the Fashion Act, could make New York the first US state to pass legislation that would require global fashion brands to make their social and climate impacts public. This new regulation reaches the capital of fashion with the aim of holding the world’s tenth largest economy responsible for the environmental and social injustice of the textile sector. A law that, if it goes forward, would lead to a significant change in the sustainable fashion industry worldwide.

The bill presented to the New York State Senate during 2021 was transferred to a legislative committee on January 5th. A legislative proposal that requires any apparel or footwear company operating in New York with at least an annual global revenue level of $100 million to take the following measures:

  • Map at least 50% of their supply chain. Identifying which points have the greatest environmental and social impact, in addition to their quantification and due communication.
  • The creation of a plan to reduce these impacts, as well as to reduce its carbon emissions to the limits established in the Paris Climate Agreement.
  • Reveal the annual volume of materials produced, including the breakdown by type of material, in addition to specifying the percentage of recycled materials used.
  • Indicate the average salary of the workers employed in the main suppliers together with the comparison of the local minimum wage. Workers’ rights should also be compiled, as well as incentives used to reward suppliers.

Brands are required to publish this information on their website, with the state attorney general being responsible for identifying companies that violate the law through an annual report. Failure to comply with these requirements would result in a fine of 2% of the brand’s annual income. The collection of the fines would go to a community benefit fund used to support environmental justice projects.

This bill is endorsed by nonprofit organizations focused on sustainable fashion, including the New Standard Institute, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, as well like designer Stella McCartney. A solid coalition that aspires to have the bill passed during the legislative session next June.

Legislation may take years, but if the Fashion Act passes, it will have an effect on the biggest names in fashion around the world. From the luxury groups LVMH and Kering to the giants of fast fashion such as Inditex, H&M or Shein. Due to this unusual fact, we have some questions that we’re eager to have the answers:

  • Will the world’s 10th economic power force a paradigm shift in the global fashion industry?
  • Is it a measure aimed at promoting sustainable fashion or is it intended to whitewash consumerism in New York State?
  • Does this new regulation mean the ultimate scalability of sustainable supply chains?
  • Will there be fines for those companies that don’t comply with their impact reduction plan?
  • What brands will support this initiative?
  • Will fashion brands use external traceability, measurement and evaluation systems?
  • What verification systems for the information provided by the brands will be used by the state of New York?
  • Will this law work as a starting point for brands with lower invoicing to also decide to be more transparent?

After the approval of the law, companies will have 12 months to comply with the directive and 18 months to make the information public on their website. At BCOME we can help textile companies to comply with the requirements established in the Fashion Act in order to be prepared for its approval. We work to encourage the fashion industry to build responsible supply chains, ensure transparency and bring it to the end customer.

The capital of fashion has spoken. Sustainability is no longer a trend, it’s a must-have. Let’s create change together!

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