Potential New Climate Change Accountability Law for Fashion Brands in New York

Potential New Climate Change Accountability Law for Fashion Brands in New York
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Arianna Pearlstein

Environment and Human Rights Researcher

Global Human Rights Defence

Last week, New York State Senator Alessandra Biaggi and Assemblywoman Anna R. Kelles revealed legislation they are sponsoring, originally introduced by the New Standard Institute , a think tank that works towards accountability in the fashion industry. The legislation has large implications for major fashion companies in New York. Effectively, if passed, the law could make New York the first state in the United States to effectively enforce accountability for the impact major fashion brands have on climate change and by extension human rights. 

The Fashion Sustainability and Social Accountability Act aims to hold accountable those international apparel and footwear companies with more than $100 million in revenue that operate in New York. This includes major companies ranging from Prada to H&M and Shein. The bill would require companies to report on their energy and greenhouse gas emissions, their use of chemicals, impact on water, labor practices among others. If brands fail to do so, they would be fined 2% of their annual revenue. The bill could be a major step towards holding fashion companies accountable for their impact on climate change. 

This would also help make fashion companies answerable for their human rights practices and impact on climate change. Various companies in the fashion industry have been the subject of human rights scandals related to child labor, conditions, and gender-based violence. Being required to report on these conditions or facing a fine would encourage fashion companies to end these harmful practices and enable consumers to access such information. 

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