Cleaning Up Fashion

Fashion shouldn’t happen at any cost. As part of this campaign, people have made it clear: There is little legislation at EU level to regulate the supply chain decisions made by multinational retailers.

For the first time, WeMove Europe made the strategic decision to focus on moving the retailers themselves rather than EU institutions. So in 2018, WeMove Europe ramped up our campaign demanding that two of the biggest European clothing brands, H&M and Zara, clean up their act. We went on to add Mango, ASOS, Marks & Spencer, Primark and Tesco to our target list.

The campaign focused on the unethical sourcing of the fabric viscose, commonly used by these companies in their garments. The fashion giants are sourcing this fabric from manufacturers in Asia who dump toxic waste water from factories directly into rivers and streams. This leads to serious health problems for workers and people living nearby.

We built an outstanding partnership with the Changing Markets Foundation, drawing on their policy expertise to design a people-powered campaign that would target the corporations and press for change.

More than 300,000 people signed our “Fashion giants’ dirty secret’ petition. We escalated the campaign in innovative ways, developing new digital engagement tools including the quiz and spoof shop. We also built the pressure with high-profile petition deliveries in September 2017 during fashion week in Madrid and London.

After 9 months of campaigning, Zara and H&M agreed to join Changing Market’s Roadmap, which provides guidance to brands and retailers for cleaning up the manufacturing of viscose and modal fibres. Other brands followed, including ASOS, Marks and Spencer, Tesco and C&A.

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