Boohoo is ‘least trusted UK fashion brand’, new study claims

A whopping 56.4 per cent of people questioned in the Unfolded Sustainability Survey said they don’t trust Boohoo’s sustainability claims, with Primark 12.4 per cent, Asos 10.9 per cent, and Amazon 9.7 per cent the next least trusted.

While virtually everyone questioned stated the sustainability credentials of a fashion brand are important, 71.5 per cent of people surveyed simply don’t believe the sustainable claims of the big fashion brands.

In the survey, which was carried out earlier this month, 350 UK shoppers were questioned about their views on sustainable shopping.

Whilst people are keen to shop sustainably they simply do not trust sustainable claims made by the big fashion brands especially fast fashion ones.

Interestingly the more expensive big fashion brands sustainability claims were generally more trusted with John Lewis (51.9 per cent) and M&S (36.7 per cent) being by far the most trusted.

Sadly this ties in with further findings that for 57 per cent of people, affordability is the main barrier to making more sustainable fashion purchases with 22 per cent simply not knowing where to buy sustainable items.

Encouragingly 79.9 per cent questioned state they have been making more sustainable purchasing choices in 2023 compared to the previous year, although the cost of living crisis is undoubtedly having an impact with almost 50 per cent questioned claiming it is preventing them shopping as sustainably as they would like.

Those questioned also feel responsibility for change doesn’t just sit with the shoppers.

Some 96.8 per cent of people believe that the UK Government should be doing more and creating laws to reduce the impact of fast fashion but sadly 77.5 per cent don’t believe that the government will actually take this action.

The fashion industry is recognised as one of the most polluting on the planet with 30 per cent of new clothes made never even sold, this year alone that’s estimated to be 26 billion items of brand new clothing destined for landfill with 1-5 per cent of global emissions coming from creating these unworn clothes.

Unfolded is one company on a mission to change this – by making sustainable, affordable clothing without waste and using the savings this creates to drive long term change by funding children’s education and improving pay and conditions for garment workers.

Cally Russell, chief executive and co-founder Unfolded is unsurprised by some of the findings: ‘It’s clear that sustainability is becoming a bigger drive for purchasing decisions but that most consumers don’t trust big brands and the claims they make.

“Sadly, the fashion industry has been built around a business model that relies on cheaply producing thousands of items in the knowledge that some will sell well and some won’t.”

Boohoo, which has a warehouse on the Heasandford Industrial Estate, Widow Hill Road, came under fire in 2022 following an undercover investigation report into the warehouse, which accuses the employer of treating their workers like ‘slaves’.

The Times newspaper infiltrated the warehouse, which has been operating in Burnley for 12 years, by sending a reporter to spend a month there working as a warehouse operative – known as a picker.

In a video taken by the reporter, colleagues at the warehouse said they were forced to work in 36-degree heat, but despite the temperatures managers refused extra breaks due to demands for targets.

A spokesperson for Boohoo said: “The Times’ undercover reporter worked for Boohoo during an unprecedented heatwave where the weather was extreme, and this posed challenges for all businesses.”

The journalist then discovered staff at the warehouse were working 12-hour shifts and are expected to collect 130 items an hour. He claimed this resulted in workers walking the equivalent of half a marathon per shift.

Boohoo strongly refuted this 13-mile claim, stating data from their GPS devices shows the reporter walked an average of 7.8 miles per shift in August 2022.

This wasn’t the first time Boohoo faced extreme scrutiny for the treatment of their workers as a report published in September 2020, found that the Burnley firm benefitted from low wages, in some cases as low as £3.50 an hour but claimed they did not do so intentionally.

Boohoo has been approached for comment.


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