The real cost of fast fashion revealed by ethical retailer SO JUST SHOP
By Jennie Muir on Friday, April 16, 2021
Ethical and sustainable retailer, SO JUST SHOP, is calling on governments and regulators to explore a 33% F.A.S.T. tax on the products of brands who cannot prove responsible practices within their supply chain.
The calculations for the 33% proposed tax, take into account that a £4 T Shirt costs £1 to manufacture unethically. However, it should actually cost £3.78 to manufacture, to cover the cost of living wages, water, pollution clean-up and carbon offset – meaning the retail price including operational costs would be £8.67, nearly twice as much.
The F.A.S.T. tax would be levied on companies who cannot prove their supply chain doesn’t include:
- Forced or child labour
- A negative impact on local water supply
- Sub-living wages for workers
- Toxic chemical and non-green energy usage
As part of the campaign, SO JUST SHOP is encouraging the public to put pressure on the Government to adopt such a tax, with a petition that can be signed here.
Jennifer Georgeson, co-founder of SO JUST SHOP, after a career in international development says: “Fast fashion comes at a high cost, whether it’s polluting water near factories, spraying cotton with toxic chemicals or having child labour within the supply chain. These brands can sell items cheaply even if making them harms people and planet. They’re not held accountable for it. I’d like to see legislation and taxation that makes unethical and unsustainable products more expensive and that ensure it is clearly labelled why. This move would make it increasingly difficult for brands to not to have a transparent, ethical and sustainable supply chain and help give consumers clearer choices. Either these brands should pay a tax that can be used to clean up after themselves or just see it makes more sense to be ethical and sustainable from the outset.”
Whilst many people are aware of the potential poor working conditions and low (not living) wages for people working in fast fashion manufacturing (including the potential for child labour and forced labour), the industry has many other wide-ranging impacts on people and planet, including water shortage, pollution & climate change and waste.
SO JUST SHOP itself is set up to lift 250,000 women and families out of poverty, with a curation of sustainable and ethically sourced fashion, accessories and homeware. Their products are handcrafted by female artisans from some of the most vulnerable communities in the world, using traditional skills that have been passed down through generations and applied to contemporary designs. Everybody who makes SO JUST SHOP products are paid a living wage, is of legal working age and has a safe environment to work in. In 2020 alone, SO JUST SHOP gave 50,000 hours of meaningful labour to 6,000 women.
Find out more @sojustshopaccessories #SoJustTax.