M&S, Tesco and Primark bosses to face MPs over fast fashion 'waste'

Nicholas Earl
Primark Store Continues To Thrive On Oxford Street
Fast fashion has led to people buying more clothes but wearing them less, causing fears to mount about the environmental impact of the high street (Source: Getty)

Parliament's environmental audit committee has asked the bosses of 10 UK clothing retailers to reveal their environmental records, amid concerns about serial clothes dumping.

High street staples Marks & Spencer, Primark, Next, Tesco, Asda and Sports Direct - among others - will also be summoned to parliament to face questions from the committee in November.

Fast fashion is shorthand for imitations of designer wear purchased in stores but intended to last for only a few months.

Read more: Women's fashion retailer Bonmarché warns on profits

The news comes as fears increase that fast fashion has led to a significant increase in the volume of clothes being dumped every year, due to a rise in the amount of clothes people are buying.

Meanwhile, upmarket fashion label Burberry made headlines in July when it was discovered it had destroyed unsold clothes, accessories and perfume worth £28.6m last year to protect its items being stolen or sold cheaply.

It has since pledged not to burn any more clothes.

The UK fashion industry contributed £32.3bn to the economy last year, according to the British Fashion Council.

But according to a report released last year by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the estimated cost to the UK economy of land filling clothing and household textiles each year is about £82m.

Burberry Front Row: Spring/Summer 2010 - London Fashion Week
Burberry has recently pledged to stop burning excess stock amid environmental concerns (Source: Getty)

The report also stated that the average number of times a garment is worn before it ceases to be used has also decreased by 36 per cent in the past 15 years.

Read more: Burberry ditches fur and promises not to burn any more clothes

Committee chairwoman Mary Creagh said: "Fashion and footwear retailers have a responsibility to minimise their environmental footprint and make sure the workers in their supply chains are paid a living wage. We want to hear what they are doing to make their industry more sustainable."