Ethical Trading Initiative
New Look is a popular British fast fashion brand. The company is known for its rapidly changing collections and low prices, both of which are red flags. Because New Look is not transparent about its footprint, material sourcing and labor conditions, these concerns are valid. New Look currently doesn’t report on its climate impact. It acknowledges that its supply chain has a big environmental impact and is adopting the available tools that can help to measure and improve it. It joined the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, and with it the Higg Index, to measure and improve environmental performance in its facilities. In practise, this means that suppliers are required to upload water and energy usage, wastewater, air emissions, waste and chemicals in the Higg Module, which gains the brand insight and allows them to adopt efficient measures. While it’s great that New Look is making use of the available tools, current climate action has been found wanting. New Look received the Carbon Neutral Gold standard for offsetting all direct emissions through verified schemes. But these are the emissions that are generated in scope 1 and 2, which are its owned facilities, like offices and stores. The supply chain constitutes a big gap in its reporting and generates the biggest chunk of emissions. On top of that, the company also doesn’t offer significant information about what materials it uses for production and its targets indicate low percentages of more sustainable materials being used. The British brand also uses animal materials from uncertified sources. Although labor rights are improving, they are worrisome. The company has a Code of Conduct and is a member of the Ethical Trading Initiative and ACT, but is not transparent about the frequency and results of its audits and there’s no data provided about what goes in in its factories. New Look’s move towards more transparency by publishing its factory list shows that the company produces in a lot of high-risk countries, where there’s a risk of labor abuse. This needs improvement. New Look’s reporting actually looks pretty good at first glance. But due to its inherently bad business model of fast fashion and the fact that almost everything the company states on sustainability revolves around targets instead of what’s being done today, New Look poses a threat to the environment, the people working in its factories and animals. We support the targets wholly and hope the company will achieve them. But it’s far from enough at the moment.