New York Fashion Act: What Does It Mean?
Gen-Z consumers are becoming more conscious of the products they buy and their impact on the environment. However, the dedication to sustainability and environmental repair is contradicted by their support of fast fashion. Companies like Shien, Forever 21, and Zara are hailed on social media as the best places to find cute clothes for a low price. But what do these companies and their production habits cost the environment? The New York Fashion Act could offer some solutions.
About The Act
Senator Alessandra Biaggi and Assemblywoman Anna R. Kelles introduced the Fashion Sustainability and Social Accountability Act (the Fashion Act). If passed New York would be the first state in the country to pass legislation that holds clothing brands accountable for their environmental footprint.
The Fashion Act would apply to global clothing and footwear companies that do business in the State of New York and earn more than $100 million in annual worldwide revenues. The law is designed to include every big name in fashion across the board, from high-end brands like Prada to fast fashion companies like Zara.
The companies that fall under this act are required to map a minimum of 50 percent of their supply chains. This would track where materials are sourced for the clothes, the production factories and shipping the companies use. Additionally, companies need to disclose what stage of their production makes the biggest environmental impact. Wages, energy, greenhouse gas emissions, water footprints, and other climate change contributors will be traced as well.
Lastly, the companies need to be transparent about their material production volumes. This means companies would state how much material they sell and what kind of material it is. All the information required from this law will be made available online. Any fines placed on brands that do not comply with the requirements of this act will contribute to a community fund that would be used for environmental justice projects in New York.
Many companies already have goals in place to limit their impact on the environment, specifically with greenhouse gas emissions. But this is not a standard in the fashion industry, and it varies from company to company.
What Does This Mean For Consumers?
This act is a great first step in seeking to keep companies accountable. But critics are saying that being transparent doesn’t mean companies will change. While fashion companies might not consider their environmental footprint now, this act will bring their attention to their role in the changing environment.
Aside from pushing companies to be more environmentally conscious, this act will give consumers access to the information behind the brands they support. The information companies are required to disclose from this law will be available to the public online. Consumers will have a chance to see how their purchases affect the climate. By being aware of the impact their shopping makes they can help keep the companies accountable along with the Fashion Act.