22/06/19 France To Make It Illegal To Burn Unsold Stock

Earlier this month, the French government announced that they will ban the destruction of unsold merchandise, including clothing, footwear and accessories, in the next four years.

French prime minister Edouard Philippe announced a ban on the destruction of unused product, citing that each year in France 650 million euros worth of new, unsold merchandise is being either thrown away or burned in France every year. Aiming to implement this within the next four years, the regulations will mean that brands will be discouraged from overproducing; made to recycle or reuse any materials unsold.

In fashion, the incineration of garments has been a prominent topic ever since Burberry admitted to burning over £28 million of stock in an attempt to protect brand image and exclusivity, as well as Amazon exposed to incinerating returned or unsold consumer items for reasons relating to storage.

Following that, Burberry pledged a shift towards a future more considerate to the environment, going fur-free and no longer discarding unsold products.

It is inspiring to see the French government take a stand on such corporate behaviour. Regulations of this kind are necessary not only to prevent the destruction of new and perfect condition clothes, but they also inhibit brands from overproducing and thus preventing garments from ending up in a landfill.

According to the Environmental Audit Committee, fashion houses reportedly get rid of over a million tonnes of clothes annually. With Paris being the world’s fashion capital, it is clear this new legislation will help fashion’s waste problem and ultimately lead to less product being sent to the landfills which contribute to climate change. Here’s hoping that the rest of the fashion capitals follow suit.

Hopefully, it won’t be too long before we see other governments wake up and take similar action around the fashion industry and its contribution to waste and the implications this has on the planet.