Why SHEIN is not the ethical answer fashion is looking for

March 26, 2022

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The SHEIN track record

According to eco research website Good On You, the fast fashion chain SHEIN is demonstrating a poor ability to become sustainable. SHEIN is known for its hyper fast ability to distribute inexpensive clothing across the globe (dresses often sell for under $20). SHEIN has not been doing the work on becoming sustainable. On planet and people, SHEIN received 1 out of 5 stars from Good On You. It also received 2 out of 5 stars for animal welfare.

SHEIN writes on their website about the rules and regulations they follow. SHEIN also released a report on their 2021 human labor and Co2 impact. After auditing their 700 suppliers, 84% of the audit came back rated C or below. The C rating means corrective action, poor performance, or immediate action is required.

Carbon emissions

When it came to carbon emissions, SHEIN released a vague statement with no numerical disclosure: "[SHEIN] is baselining energy consumption and establishing goals around renewable energy use in our own operations. We look forward to publicly disclosing our baseline GHG emissions calculations."

Health and safety

[SHEIN's] labour rating is 'very poor'. None of its supply chain is certified by labour standards which ensure worker health and safety, living wages or other labour rights. It received a score of 0-10% in the 2021 Fashion Transparency Index. There is no evidence it implements practices to encourage diversity and inclusion in its direct operations or supply chain. There is no evidence it ensures payment of a living wage in its supply chain. It does not disclose adequate policies or safeguards to protect suppliers and workers in its supply chain from the impacts of COVID-19.

Good On You

Good On You

Slavery reporting rules

While other chains such as Zara, don't fare much better according to Good On You, SHEIN is becoming vastly popular and consumers. They should be wise to learn about how the purchase affects people in the supply chain and the impact on the planet. Furthermore, last year, The Fashion Law went into extensive detail on how SHEIN has fallen short of modern slavery reporting rules.

Fast fashion offers a great deal to consumers who crave new outfits for social media and to modernize their day-to-day wardrobe, however, doing research and applying pressure to fast fashion brands to be responsible is imperative.

Read more and research other brands on Good On You's website and on Business of Fashion.