Bill Memo: Fashion Act

2 Tree: Substantial benefit rating

Summary

This bill establishes the Fashion Act and amends the general business law to require fashion sellers to adhere to environmental and social standards to reduce their emissions, waste, and chemical contamination. The Act also amends the state finance law to establish a fashion remediation fund, in which penalties for noncompliance will be deposited and reinvested into directly impacted communities.

Explanation

This legislation amends the general business law to require the fashion industry to be accountable to environmental and social standards and amends the state finance law to establish a fashion remediation fund.

The apparel and footwear industry is responsible for a significant percentage of global greenhouse gas emissions, water contamination, toxic chemical use, deforestation, staggering amounts of waste, and worker exploitation. Women, particularly women of color, are disproportionately harmed by the lack of labor protections in the industry and are subject to poor health and safety standards, low pay, and higher rates of workplace violence. There are no legally binding social protections or environmental standards placed on this industry, which has enabled “fast fashion” retailers to perpetuate this harm.

The Fashion Sustainability and Social Accountability Act (Fashion Act) would create novel, legally binding environmental and labor standards for the industry. Apparel and footwear retailers with a revenue of at least $100 million annually would be required to disclose their entire supply chain and address their impacts through the “Mandatory Due Diligence Framework.” This framework would require companies to set and achieve climate reductions in line with the Paris Agreement, manage chemical use across their supply chain, establish wage transparency and worker protections, and increase the use of recyclable materials.

The Fashion Act is enforced by the state Attorney General via a fine of up to 2% of a company’s annual revenues. The funds raised would be placed into a fashion remediation fund and reinvested in the communities and workers directly impacted by the violations.

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Environmental Advocates NY Bill Rating: Substantial Benefit

Memo #: 9