Consumers want to pay more for their clothes?
When times are hard most of us have been looking at ways to cut costs to keep pace with falling real incomes. Environmentally-motivated costs are often first to go- it’s harder being green when you’re in the red. However, a new survey by You Gov for the See Through Fashion campaign found that 74% of people would willingly spend more on their clothes.
The survey comes off the back of a new campaign challenging some of the UK’s largest clothes retailers to commit to ensuring workers’ safety and conditions in Bangladesh. A factory collapse in April, which killed over 1000 workers, resulted in a new Fire and Safety Accord to protect workers' safety going forwards. Most UK clothing retailers have signed up, but some are still refusing.
But they may need to think again. Most (78%) survey respondents said they thought UK companies were not transparent about conditions of factories in their supply chain and 76% think companies should be transparent. With almost three quarters of people saying they would willingly pay 5% more for clothing for a guarantee on fair pay and safe working conditions, do clothing companies need to start taking notice of our collective conscience?
Recent revelations about tax avoidance have resulting in some groups boycotting the likes of Amazon as consumer protest. You can be sure that Starbucks' offer to pay additional tax only came about because of the sharp drop in consumer approval, and the resulting hit on shareholders’ profits. Having said that, consumers are a fickle bunch, and it would be interesting to see how many people are still boycotting Starbucks, now the scandal has blown over. Still if the profits of River Island, Matalan, Peacocks and, ironic champion of (UK) workers, Sports Direct take a tumble, perhaps we’ll know why.
Alternatively you now know where to go to buy cheap clothes. Unless you are River Island in which case there’s no excuse.
If you are so inclined, you can email the CEOs of the four companies, or tweet about their unethical practice, here.