Transparency in any industry has had a long history of controversy. One of the most recent incidents is the uproar caused by Barack Obama’s 2010 Health Law in the US restaurant industry. Now, a similar piece of legislation is set to upend transparency practices within the fashion industry – one that will force brands to rethink their accountability with regard to sustainability and ethical practices.
Filed last January 7th in the state of New York, state assemblywoman Fr. Anna R. Kelles and Senator Alessandra Biaggi introduced Assembly Bill A8352/S7428 which, when passed and enacted, will call for transparency for at least 50% of all goods sold with regard to the provenance of their raw materials and shipping practices in relation to their environmental impact.
According to Kelles, the bill’s prime assembly sponsor, the fashion industry in the United States alone accounts for up to 8.6% of greenhouse gas emissions. She went so far as to add that the industry has managed to evade scrutiny of its operational practices. Allegedly, many have skirted anti-pollution regulations, as well as those regarding exploitative labor practices.
The bill was authored with the support of several influential style maisons and non-profit organizations geared towards sustainability in fashion. These include environmentally-aware designer Stella McCartney, the New Standard Institute (NSI), the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance.
What Does the Bill Entail?
If passed into law, the new legislation will mandate companies operating within the fashion industry to do thorough due diligence regarding both actual and potential socio-environmental issues that will have a direct impact on their supply chains.
According to NSI founder and director Maxine B�dat, New York is the right state to spearhead the initiative. She stated that New Yorkers stand to play a key role in ensuring that companies practice ethical labor standards and follow more environmentally sustainable practices in terms of sourcing and production.
B�dat said that the bill was partly influenced by the mandatory fuel efficiency standard that is now in use in the state of California. During the making of this law, state legislators and their private sector counterparts considered the possibilities of what common-sense regulation was supposed to be like, and called upon experts in sustainability and power generation to add their input.
In the case of New York’s impending fashion transparency bill, it will be using the gargantuan size of the fashion market in order to push for noteworthy changes in the industry, essentially requiring companies to set and achieve goals backed by environmental science.