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Faster retailer action needed to meet consumers' sustainability focus

Published
today May 15, 2019
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80% of consumers believe retailers are not doing enough to address issues around sustainability, according to a new report from GlobalData.


H&M


Retailers are being urged to act fast to respond to a growing sentiment amongst British consumers that brands should embrace sustainable practices. This opinion is shared across generations. For instance 82.3% of consumers aged 16-24 agree that retailers should make an effort to source materials sustainably and ethically in clothing & footwear.

Whilst many brands have introduced sustainable lines made from recycled or responsibly sourced materials, the high cost of these items is still a barrier for many shoppers, GlobalData said in its latest ‘UK Sustainability 2019’ report.

In fact, 78.8% of consumers agree that it is hard to find affordable sustainable and/ or ethical clothing and footwear products.

“Retailers have tried to tap into this demand for more sustainable items, such as H&M continuing to extend its Conscious Collection, PrettyLittleThing launching its Recycled collection, and Primark introducing garments made from sustainable materials,” said Emily Salter, retail analyst at GlobalData.

“However, fast fashion is inherently environmentally unsustainable. More sustainable and ethical options are growing in popularity, including dedicated retailers, slow fashion, and resale apps. Clothing retailers could capitalise upon this trend by launching rental services, as well as online second-hand marketplaces.”

BBC’s Blue Planet 2 documentary and the Environmental Audit Committee 2018 report have helped raise consumer awareness of the many environmental and sustainability issues surrounding mass production, and this is only likely to increase in the future as more and more shoppers demand eco-friendly options.

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