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New York mulls legislation on fast fashion

Adrian Wilson

Bill would make state the first to enforce supply chain transparency, but took industry by surprise.

17th January 2022

Adrian Wilson
 |  New York City

Clothing/​Footwear

New York could become the first US state to enforce legislative changes on the fashion industry via The Fashion Sustainability and Social Accountability Act (The Fashion Act) which was introduced to the state’s assemby on Friday January 7th.

The bill, sponsored by Senator Alessandra Biaggi and assembly member Dr Anna Kelles, proposes that global fashion companies who conduct business in New York with revenues of at least $100 million, should be onliged to disclose at least 50% of their supply chain, material use, worker wages and carbon impact to ensure they align with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.

Given the volume of support for sustainability, it is our expectation and hope that companies get on board. In 2022 we need to know which are truly committed to sustainability and which are just empty talk

Failure to do so within 12 months would result in the imposition of fees to fund environmental justice initiatives under the act, which is already supported by fashion leaders including Stella McCartney and is likely to be voted on this Spring.

Maxine Bédat, founder and director of the New Standard Institute think tank, played an instrumental role in the bill’s making.

 “We looked at the biggest issues facing the industry and explored what common sense regulation would look like,” she told Forbes magazine. “Experts in the space – academics and other organisations taking the environmental side – were consulted, and quiet conversations with industry leaders also took place. This legislation will require companies to perform mandatory due diligence to identify, prevent, mitigate and account for actual and potential adverse social and environmental impacts in their supply chain. Given the volume of support for sustainability, it is our expectation and hope that these companies get on board. In 2022 we need to know which companies are truly committed to sustainability and which are just empty talk.”

Industry response

The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) were not involved in making the bill and released the following joint statement:

“The apparel and footwear industry has a strong commitment to sustainability and social responsibility within its supply chains. The work of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, UN Global Compact, Apparel Impact Institute, Global Fashion Agenda, Better Buying Initiative, AAFA’s Commitment to Responsible Recruitment, and CFDA’s sustainability work  have transformed the industry’s supply chains from what they were decades ago.

“That said, more needs to be done, and that is why AAFA and CFDA are aligned in meeting the 2030 and 2050 climate targets of the Paris Agreement and why we support the United Nations Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action.

“As industry organisations, we were not involved in the drafting of the bill, nor are we aware of any companies who were consulted. We are currently taking time to understand the bill and look forward to speaking with its authors to provide our input and share our perspectives.”

www.nysenate.gov

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