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Advocacy Groups Push to Toughen New York Fashion Act

Street shot of Lexington Avenue and Chrysler Building in New York City
New York's Fashion Act aims to toughen regulation of the industry in one of its biggest markets. Getty Images. (Alexander Spatari)

A group of 20 human rights and labour organisations are lobbying to extend the proposed legislation’s reach beyond greater disclosure.

The New York Fashion Sustainability and Social Accountability Act, or Fashion Act, was introduced earlier this month with the aim to drive greater accountability in the industry and put New York at the forefront of efforts to regulate fashion. Its backers include Stella McCartney and a coalition of nonprofits. If passed, it would required any brand doing business in New York with global revenue of more than $100 million to provide more transparency around their environmental and social impact, or risk substantial fines.

But organisations including Fashion Revolution, Remake and Human Rights Watch are arguing for the bill to go further, pushing for amendments to tighten disclosure requirements, enforce greater action and establish clear liability on brands and retailers for human rights and environmental abuses.

“We are concerned that this bill falls short of what is needed to protect people and the environment from the multiple harms caused by the sector,” the coalition of human rights and labour organisations said in an open letter sent on Friday to the bill’s sponsors, Senator Alessandra Biaggi and Assemblywoman Anna Kelles. As currently written, “brands will only be held accountable for failures to report, not failures to actively identify, prevent, mitigate and account for adverse impacts on people and planet on an ongoing basis,” the letter said.

The Fashion Act’s proponents said they welcomed the input and are focused on building a wide coalition of support to ensure the legislation is as robust as possible. The bill is currently undergoing evaluation by a Senate committee, a process that can lead to changes to the text of proposed legislation before it is sent to the full Senate for consideration.

Learn more:

New York Fashion Act to Test Brands’ Appetite for Sustainability Regulation

Stella McCartney is among the backers of a new bill introduced in New York that could step up disclosure and due diligence requirements for brands operating in the key market.

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