French lawmakers approve bill penalizing fast fashion

French lawmakers approve bill penalizing fast fashion - World - News

France Takes a Stand Against Ultra-Fast Fashion: A New Bill Targets Companies Like Shein and Temu to Reduce Environmental Impact

The French National Assembly took a significant step towards mitigating the environmental impact of ultra-fast fashion on Thursday, as they approved a bill that imposes penalties and restrictions on companies selling such products. This legislative action is aimed at addressing the concerns posed by brands like China’s Shein and Temu, which have disrupted the retail sector with their flexible supply chains.

The proposed bill entails gradually increasing penalties of up to 10 euros ($11) per individual garment by 2030, along with a ban on advertising for ultra-fast fashion products. The bill passed unanimously in the lower house of parliament and will now proceed to the senate before becoming law.

The emergence of fashion retailers like Shein and Temu has significantly influenced consumer behavior by capitalizing on the desire for constant renewal and low prices, which carries environmental, social, and economic consequences. This evolution in the apparel sector is described in the bill as “influencing consumer buying habits by creating buying impulses.”

Shein, in response to the bill, stated that their clothes cater to an existing demand, thereby keeping their unsold garments’ rate consistently low. While traditional retailers may have up to 40% waste, Shein asserts that the bill would worsen the purchasing power of French consumers amidst the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

France’s Environment Minister, Christophe Béchu, described this legislation as a “major step forward,” stating that it would contribute to reducing the textile sector’s environmental footprint. The bill comes at an opportune moment, as the French environmental ministry also proposes a contact Union ban on exports of used clothes to tackle the escalating textile waste issue.

Last year, France introduced a repair scheme aimed at motivating citizens to restore old clothes and shoes instead of discarding them. The government invested 154 million euros ($168 million) in the initiative, providing shoppers up to 25 euros ($27.20) per repaired garment. Refashion, the non-profit organization overseeing the scheme, reported that an astounding 3.3 billion items of clothing, household linens, and footwear were traded in France during 2022. According to the French Ministry of Ecology, citizens dispose of approximately 700,000 tons of clothes each year, with two-thirds ending up in landfills.

As one of the world’s most polluting industries, fashion contributes between 3% and 5% of global carbon emissions, according to McKinsey’s State of Fashion report. Approximately half of all fibers utilized in the sector are oil-based polyester, the report added.

By tackling ultra-fast fashion through this legislative initiative, France aims to lead the way in promoting responsible consumption and reducing the textile industry’s environmental impact.