Legislation aimed to clean up the fashion industry is being discussed in the State of New York. Converting the Fashion Act into Law could be a necessary advancement into ensuring accountability for social and environmental damages caused by the fashion industry in its supply chain. This proposed bill is a critical opportunity to create a legacy for future generations.
A new bill introduced in the State of New York could mean the first step towards an official regulation that would finally hold the fashion industry accountable for the environmental impacts and labour violations it causes. Supported by non-profit organizations, companies, and activists, the Fashion Sustainability and Social Accountability Act is an ambitious project capable of shifting fashion’s history. Currently under appreciation by the State Assembly, this proposed motion was sponsored by Alessandra Biaggi, New York State Senator, and Dr. Anna Kelles, Assemblymember.
To get things started, we need to understand what changes would the Fashion Act actually bring to the fashion sector. Firstly, the bill’s focal point is to bring accountability to brands operating in New York State that have a global revenue of over $100 million – meaning anything from H&M to Louis Vuitton. Besides, this project would regulate the reporting of greenhouse gas emissions – establishing attainable targets to reduce this emission -, energy, water, and plastic use, the management of chemicals, and workers’wages. The Fashion Act would also ensure to protect the planet from global warming, by keeping it at less than 2ºC above pre-industrial levels. Moreover, the proposed bill would establish mandatory supply chain due diligence to fight labour abuses in fashion factories. Brands that choose to not comply with the regulations in the Fashion Act could receive potential monetary penalties of up to 2% of their annual revenues.
Proponents of the bill state that the Fashion Act would make it possible to test which brands are actually ready for a change and which ones are just making non-binding commitments to sustainability and to eradicate labour violations. Among supporters of this motion is Fashion Designer Stella McCartney. She has long been working and advocating for a better, more sustainable fashion world, either by giving up on the use of animal skin or by choosing recyclable materials for her creations. In Stella’s words, “there needs to be policies set in place to police our industry”. If signed into Law, the Fashion Act would tighten up due diligence in the supply chain, as well as environmental disclosure requirements.
With the conversion of this project into Law, a larger industry reform could be in its way. Other efforts into creating those kinds of boundaries both in Europe and in the US have already been discussed but still haven’t become any official form of legislation. The proposal of this Fashion Act demonstrates a slow progress into a more sustainable and socially accountable fashion world. It would also transform the supply chain in the fashion industry into a more transparent one. It is finally time to realize and admit that voluntary corporate action to address those issues are not enough, but a mandatory legal approach is imperative.
Published by HOLR Magazine.