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France to ban Shein advertising to combat overproduction of clothing

France to ban Shein advertising to combat overproduction of clothing

Image source: © canva
Marta Grzeszczuk,
07.03.2024 16:30

A bill proposing restrictions and financial burdens on ultrafast fashion manufacturers to make them accountable for environmental pollution is currently being deliberated in the French parliament.

Advertisements by ultra-fast fashion concerns could soon be banned in France under new legislation to reduce pollution. The bill, tabled by MEP Anne-Cécile Violland, also proposes penalising the low-cost clothing industry for its negative environmental impact.

Shein sells the highest number of clothing items in Europe

The law's primary target is Shein, a Chinese-Singapore-based retailer with the highest number of clothing items sold online in Europe. The company generated a net turnover of 5.4 billion euros in Europe in 2022. The drafters of the new legislation reasoned that "Shein offers 900 times more products than a traditional French brand. It releases more than 7,200 new clothing models daily and offers 470,000 different products on its website."

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The proposed legislation draws attention to the fact that the availability of cheap clothing significantly impacts consumer behaviour, leading to impulsive buying and a constant desire for new clothes. This, in turn, has negative environmental, social, and economic consequences. In order to remain competitive, European clothing brands are compelled to increase their production. However, it is important to recognise that the 'fast fashion' model was initially developed in Europe by companies like Zara and H&M. Shein has taken this model to an extreme level.

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Overproduction of clothing harms the environment

"Ultrafast fashion is an ecological disaster: clothes are poorly made, widely purchased, rarely worn and quickly thrown away," Minister of Ecological Transition Christophe Béchu wrote on X, following a debate organised with industry representatives.

The French Environmental and Energy Management Agency (ADEME) reports that over 100 billion garments are sold globally annually. As a result, the textile and clothing industry is responsible for about 10% of greenhouse gas emissions, according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). This makes it the third-largest contributor to the climate crisis after the fuel industry and industrialised agriculture.

France wants to enforce changes on clothing manufacturers

The proposed French bill is designed to raise consumer awareness about the environmental impact of fast fashion. It aims to promote sustainable practices like reusing and repairing garments to combat throwaway culture. The bill also suggests imposing financial penalties on manufacturers based on the environmental impact and carbon emissions of their products. This approach is similar to the existing charges in the automotive industry.

In an interview with Radio France, Violland explained that product charges could be enforced on a sliding scale by 2030 based on sustainability and recyclability. These charges could reach up to €10 per product sold or 50% of the purchase price. The funds generated from these charges would be used to fund waste management, offer bonuses for repairs, and public awareness campaigns.

Finally, the bill would ban advertising for fast fashion brands and products, just as fossil fuel advertising was banned under the French Climate and Resilience law. The Sustainable Development Committee will discuss the bill on 14 March, after which it could go to the Senate.

Source: euronews.com

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