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The introduction of the fast- fashion business model has spurred the rise of increasingly common trends toward premature product replacement and fashion obsolescence, which have become increasingly common. In addition, this economic paradigm has a substantial negative influence on the environment and society as a whole. The purpose of this study paper is to fill in some of the gaps in the environmental sustainability assessments of large retailers and consumer behaviour patterns in general, and in the UK in particular, as well as in the environmental sustainability assessments of key retailers.

Companies in the apparel industry employ a variety of business models in order to be successful in the industry. The two extremities of the apparel industry are represented by H&M and ZARA. H&M’s business model is mainly reliant on outsourcing, whereas ZARA’s is heavily reliant on in-house production. The present ideas, however, are unable to explain why two businesses operating in the same market under the same conditions choose to follow business plans that are vastly different from one another. The purpose of this dissertation is to provide a comparative case study of Zara and H&M. Additional insight into why H&M and ZARA, two fashion companies, chose to pursue business techniques that differ from one another.

Nine persons were interviewed in semi-structured interviews for the goal of obtaining primary research information for this study. Even while consumers are growing more educated about fast fashion and sustainability, according to the poll results, a substantial disparity still exists between their beliefs and their behaviours in the fashion industry. It also indicated that certain merchants in the United Kingdom are putting environmental standards at the top of their priority lists, according to the report. Recycling of textiles, as well as an increasing interest in the sources of the things that consumers purchase, may serve to entice them to take part in environmental initiatives. It is feasible to advocate for the implementation of programmes that encourage citizens to embrace more eco-friendly business practises in order to persuade customers to adopt more eco-friendly company practises.

Content:

Title: How do Environmental Issues influence the way Fast Fashion Industry works?

or

The influence of Environmental Issues on the way Fast Fashion works.

Table of Contents

TOC \h \u \z Abstract PAGEREF _Toc84512411 \h 6

Chapter 1.Introduction PAGEREF _Toc84512412 \h 7

1.1Background and Overview PAGEREF _Toc84512413 \h 7

1.2Problem Statement PAGEREF _Toc84512414 \h 7

1.3Research Aim PAGEREF _Toc84512415 \h 8

1.4Research Objective PAGEREF _Toc84512416 \h 8

1.5Research Question PAGEREF _Toc84512417 \h 8

1.6Conceptual Framework PAGEREF _Toc84512418 \h 9

1.6.1The theory of Planned Behaviour PAGEREF _Toc84512419 \h 9

1.7Significant of study PAGEREF _Toc84512420 \h 10

1.8Structure of the Dissertation PAGEREF _Toc84512421 \h 11

Chapter 2.Literature Review PAGEREF _Toc84512422 \h 12

2.1Introduction PAGEREF _Toc84512423 \h 12

2.2The Fashion Industry and Fast Fashion PAGEREF _Toc84512424 \h 14

2.3Environmental factors impacting fast fashion PAGEREF _Toc84512425 \h 15

2.4The Fashion Product Life Cycle PAGEREF _Toc84512426 \h 15

2.5Consumers and Fast Fashion PAGEREF _Toc84512427 \h 16

2.6Ethical and Sustainable Consumer Behaviour PAGEREF _Toc84512428 \h 17

2.7Ethical Fashion: Fashion Retailers/Producers and Sustainability or The Rise of Eco-friendly Clothing in Fast Fashion PAGEREF _Toc84512429 \h 18

2.8Fast fashion as a global environmental justice issue PAGEREF _Toc84512430 \h 19

2.9Environmental hazards during production PAGEREF _Toc84512431 \h 20

2.10Occupational hazards during production PAGEREF _Toc84512432 \h 20

2.11Textile waste and eco-friendly PAGEREF _Toc84512433 \h 21

2.12Solutions, innovation, and social justice PAGEREF _Toc84512434 \h 22

2.13Sustainable fibers PAGEREF _Toc84512435 \h 23

2.14Corporate sustainability PAGEREF _Toc84512436 \h 23

2.15Implications for fashion companies PAGEREF _Toc84512437 \h 24

2.16Trade policy PAGEREF _Toc84512438 \h 26

2.16.1The role of the consumer PAGEREF _Toc84512439 \h 26

2.17Overview of H&M and ZARA PAGEREF _Toc84512440 \h 27

2.17.1The History and Development of H&M PAGEREF _Toc84512441 \h 27

2.17.2The History and Development of ZARA PAGEREF _Toc84512442 \h 29

Chapter 3.Research Methodology and Research Design PAGEREF _Toc84512443 \h 32

3.1Research Philosophy PAGEREF _Toc84512444 \h 32

3.1.1Epistemology PAGEREF _Toc84512445 \h 33

3.1.2Interpretivism PAGEREF _Toc84512446 \h 33

3.1.3Positivism PAGEREF _Toc84512447 \h 33

3.2Research Design PAGEREF _Toc84512448 \h 34

3.2.1Inductive approach PAGEREF _Toc84512449 \h 34

3.2.2Philosophical Stance PAGEREF _Toc84512450 \h 34

3.3Research Strategy PAGEREF _Toc84512451 \h 34

3.3.1Methodological Paradigm PAGEREF _Toc84512452 \h 34

3.3.2Qualitative Research Method PAGEREF _Toc84512453 \h 34

3.4Mixed Methods Research Approach PAGEREF _Toc84512454 \h 35

3.5Time Horizon PAGEREF _Toc84512455 \h 36

3.6Methodological Choice: Exploratory Study PAGEREF _Toc84512456 \h 36

3.7Data Collection PAGEREF _Toc84512457 \h 36

3.7.1Primary Research Data PAGEREF _Toc84512458 \h 36

3.7.2Secondary Data PAGEREF _Toc84512459 \h 37

3.7.3Validity and Reliability PAGEREF _Toc84512460 \h 37

3.7.4Interviews PAGEREF _Toc84512461 \h 37

3.7.5Research Sample PAGEREF _Toc84512462 \h 38

3.7.6Convenience and Purposive Non-Probability Sampling PAGEREF _Toc84512463 \h 38

3.7.7Access PAGEREF _Toc84512464 \h 39

3.8Data Analysis PAGEREF _Toc84512465 \h 39

3.8.1Thematic Analysis of Qualitative Research Data PAGEREF _Toc84512466 \h 39

3.8.2Ethical Considerations PAGEREF _Toc84512467 \h 40

3.8.3General Data Protection Regulation PAGEREF _Toc84512468 \h 40

3.8.4Study Design and Data Collection PAGEREF _Toc84512469 \h 40

3.8.5Summary of Primary Research Methodology PAGEREF _Toc84512470 \h 41

Chapter 4. Discussion of Result and Findings PAGEREF _Toc84512471 \h 42

4.1Introduction PAGEREF _Toc84512472 \h 42

4.2Interview Analysis PAGEREF _Toc84512473 \h 42

4.3Demographics on interview Participants PAGEREF _Toc84512474 \h 6

4.4Summary PAGEREF _Toc84512475 \h 7

Chapter 5.Analysis and Discussion PAGEREF _Toc84512476 \h 8

5.1Analysis PAGEREF _Toc84512477 \h 8

5.2Discussion PAGEREF _Toc84512478 \h 10

5.3Limitations PAGEREF _Toc84512479 \h 12

5.3.1Research Limitations PAGEREF _Toc84512480 \h 12

5.3.2Small Scale Nature of Primary Research PAGEREF _Toc84512481 \h 12

5.3.3Limitations of Time/Money PAGEREF _Toc84512482 \h 12

5.3.4Other Research Methods PAGEREF _Toc84512483 \h 12

5.4Suggestion PAGEREF _Toc84512484 \h 12

5.5Future Research PAGEREF _Toc84512485 \h 14

Chapter 6.Conclusion and Recommendation PAGEREF _Toc84512486 \h 16

6.1Conclusion PAGEREF _Toc84512487 \h 16

6.1.1Theoretical Implications PAGEREF _Toc84512488 \h 18

6.2Recommendations PAGEREF _Toc84512489 \h 19

6.2.1Retailers in the Fashion Sector PAGEREF _Toc84512490 \h 19

6.2.2Recycling PAGEREF _Toc84512491 \h 19

6.2.3Consumers PAGEREF _Toc84512492 \h 20

References PAGEREF _Toc84512493 \h 21

Appendix A PAGEREF _Toc84512494 \h 24

Appendix B PAGEREF _Toc84512495 \h 27

Abstract

The introduction of the fast- fashion business model has spurred the rise of increasingly common trends toward premature product replacement and fashion obsolescence, which have become increasingly common. In addition, this economic paradigm has a substantial negative influence on the environment and society as a whole. The purpose of this study paper is to fill in some of the gaps in the environmental sustainability assessments of large retailers and consumer behaviour patterns in general, and in the UK in particular, as well as in the environmental sustainability assessments of key retailers.

Companies in the apparel industry employ a variety of business models in order to be successful in the industry. The two extremities of the apparel industry are represented by H&M and ZARA. H&M’s business model is mainly reliant on outsourcing, whereas ZARA’s is heavily reliant on in-house production. The present ideas, however, are unable to explain why two businesses operating in the same market under the same conditions choose to follow business plans that are vastly different from one another. The purpose of this dissertation is to provide a comparative case study of Zara and H&M. Additional insight into why H&M and ZARA, two fashion companies, chose to pursue business techniques that differ from one another.

Nine persons were interviewed in semi-structured interviews for the goal of obtaining primary research information for this study. Even while consumers are growing more educated about fast fashion and sustainability, according to the poll results, a substantial disparity still exists between their beliefs and their behaviours in the fashion industry. It also indicated that certain merchants in the United Kingdom are putting environmental standards at the top of their priority lists, according to the report. Recycling of textiles, as well as an increasing interest in the sources of the things that consumers purchase, may serve to entice them to take part in environmental initiatives. It is feasible to advocate for the implementation of programmes that encourage citizens to embrace more eco-friendly business practises in order to persuade customers to adopt more eco-friendly company practises.

Keywords: Consumption Behaviours, Sustainability, Environment, Fast Fashion, Eco-friendly Business Practices, Business Models, Internalisation, Governance Structure, Key Resources

Introduction

The researcher will be introduced to the topic of the environmental effects of fast fashion in this section of the introduction. It draws attention to the major topic of the investigation and provides a brief description of each chapter.

Background and Overview

During a late-night session on Wednesday, May 9, 2019, a bipartisan United Kingdom parliament approved an extraordinary measure: a national environmental and climate emergency declaration. As per Niinimäki et al. (2020) it came in the wake of the Extinction Rebellion climate change protest in London, as well as a United Nations assessment released earlier that week, which concluded that nature is currently in more danger than it has ever been in human history. More than 1 million animal and plant species have been identified as being at risk of extinction, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Students at Kristianstad’s University of Business, who have a strong interest in multinational corporations, understand how vital it is to determine which responsibilities should be delegated and which should be handled in-house by an organisation. Over the course of our three-year investigation, we learned that even similar organisations, extremely successful corporations, and even firms in the same area that compete with one another have completely different business strategies.. H&M, a Swedish garment brand, outsources non-core functions to third-party vendors. As a result of the fact that H&M does not own any factories, the company relies on a large number of independent suppliers to provide apparel and other items. The business model of ZARA is diametrically opposed to that of H&M. ZARA is a fast-growing retailer based in Spain that is a subsidiary of the Inditex multinational corporation. ZARA has developed a one-of-a-kind company strategy in order to be successful. Only garments with a longer shelf life/fashion life time are outsourced by ZARA, which maintains complete control over the whole value chain from design to production.

Problem Statement

A review of the literature on this subject finds some research gaps, particularly in the United Kingdom, regarding the environmental sustainability of large retailers and consumer behaviour. The findings of this thesis address these issues in detail. In order to adequately address the enormous complexity and variability of this business, the research will be focused on specific and tiny segments of the overall environment. According to Wang et al. (2020) what has already been stated, environmental sustainability is becoming increasingly crucial in the textile industry. Using information gathered from a review of the literature, five research questions were developed to measure the level of commitment to sustainability among specific fashion merchants and consumers in the United Kingdom. There are two sets of questions, one geared toward consumers and the other geared toward business executives. It will be necessary to solicit data from consumers and retailers in order to compare and contrast their respective points of view on this issue.

Research Aim

Consumers’ attitudes and intentions toward slow- fashion items will be examined in this study to determine whether exposure to fast fashion education regarding its environmental worth and the negative environmental effects of fast-fashion will influence their positions and intentions toward slow fashion items. In this work, we apply the theory of planned behaviour, in particular, to understand the current level of understanding regarding the environmental implications of fast- fashion operation, while also considering psychographic aspects (i.e., environment values, shopping values, knowledge of slow-fashion and fast fashion) (Heinze, 2020). Customers’ opinions regarding slow- fashion items, as well as their purchase intentions, are investigated in this study before and after the teaching module. Our goal is to build an educational module on the environmental consequences of fast fashion for young adult consumers in order to assess their knowledge, attitudes, and intention to purchase fast fashion in this study.

Research Objective

To identify the different environmental factors impacting fast fashion manufacturing eco-friendly clothing.

To investigate the impact of the environmental factors on fast fashion production of eco-friendly clothing.

To examine a link between the rise of eco-friendly clothing in fast fashion and consumer awareness towards environmental issues.

Research Question

R1: What are the environmental factors impacting fast fashion manufacturing eco-friendly clothing?

R2: How do the environmental factors impact fast fashion production of eco-friendly clothing?

R3: What links the rise of eco-friendly clothing in fast fashion and the environmental factors?

Conceptual Framework

The theory of Planned Behaviour

Underpinning this inquiry is the idea of planned behaviour with additional incentive components, which is the theory of planned behaviour. The theory of planned action was adopted in order to investigate a number of factors that influence a consumer’s intention to purchase slowly. This concept has been used in a number of research exploring environmental behaviour, as well as studies focusing largely on the textile and garment industries.

As Collison, K., (2021) mentioned, that attitudes and behaviours are associated with one another. For example, a broader approach to sustainability may be associated with the buying of eco-friendly products in general. Among the four components of the theory of planned conduct are attitude, subjective norm, perceived behavioural control, and intent, all of which influence the end result of behaviour. When it comes to behaviour, attitude is a function of behavioural convictions that characterise the presumed seven behavioural repercussions of an individual. Individuals’ subjective norms are a result of their normative convictions, which explain what they consider to be near to the individual’s ability to believe in action Brydges (2021). Behavioural control that is perceived as easy or difficult is defined as the view of an individual that it is simple or difficult to carry out the behaviour dictated by control beliefs.

431800152400

Attitude towards Act or Behaviour

Subject Norm

Perceived Behaviour control

Behavioural Intention

Behaviour

Attitude towards Act or Behaviour

Subject Norm

Perceived Behaviour control

Behavioural Intention

Behaviour

1524000

Figure1: The Theory of Planned Behaviour

Figure1: The Theory of Planned Behaviour

There are other variables. According to the findings of psychological research, attitudes are simply a component of behaviour prediction; other elements, such as resources and knowledge, also influence behaviour and are taken into consideration by Brydges (2021). In this study, three additional components from the theory of planned behaviour (environmental values, shopping 8 values, and knowledge) are examined in order to better understand the purchase intentions of young adult customers in the slow- fashion. These three criteria are put into the planned behaviour theory so that it can be used as a guideline in future research. Increasing understanding of the environmental consequences of fast- fashion consumption and the benefits of slow- fashion consumption will, in theory, transform the thinking of young adult consumers, leading to the development of sustainable purchase intentions. This study also attempts to investigate how customers’ environmental values and shopping values influence their intentions to purchase slowly through attitudes, subjective standards, and a perceived sense of control over their actions.

558800139700

Environmental Valves

Shopping Values

Knowledge of Fast Fashion

Attitude towards Fast Fashion

Subject Norm

Perceived Behaviour Control

Attitude towards Act or Behaviour

Environmental Valves

Shopping Values

Knowledge of Fast Fashion

Attitude towards Fast Fashion

Subject Norm

Perceived Behaviour Control

Attitude towards Act or Behaviour

254012247900

Figure : The Conceptual Framework of the Current Study

Figure : The Conceptual Framework of the Current Study

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Significant of study

The overall goal of this study is to educate young adults about the environmental impact of purchasing products that are produced in a fast fashion and to improve their understanding of products that are produced in a slow- fashion. People who have a better awareness of clothing goods are more likely to shop for clothing that is more eco-friendly. The findings of this study may indicate that slow- fashion apparel companies who want their clients to learn more about their purchasing should use a more educational approach. Investigations on how customers’ knowledge affects their purchasing intentions may yield information on how to encourage more environmentally conscious behaviour. Sustainable development research is particularly vital now that we are dealing with increasing population challenges as well as changing climate conditions and environmental damage. Since the textile and garment industries are driven by the fast- fashion, low-cost, high-quality model, there is a pressing demand for an eco-friendlier alternative Niinimäki et al. (2020). Beginning the process of changing our behaviour by increasing our understanding of fast fashion will assist in reducing the burden of sustainability on future generations, which will benefit all of us.

Structure of the Dissertation

There are six chapters in this thesis that describe the structure of the thesis. The first chapter provides an outline of the historical context of the subject. The second chapter contains an up-to-date overview of the literature that takes into consideration the notion of fast fashion. This section contains primarily scholarly texts that are related to Fast Fashion and its environmental consequences. Chapter 3 provides a summary and description of the key research questions. The findings are provided in Chapter 4, which follows after that. The argument is presented in Chapter 5, and the results and recommendations, as well as the research limitations, are presented in Chapter 6.

Literature Review

Introduction

This chapter is going to talk about the fast fashion, its detail, environmental factors affecting fast fashion, consumer and fast fashion, occupational and environmental hazards during production and trade policies. This comprises primarily scholarly works on Fast Fashion and the environmental consequences of this fashion trend.

Fast fashion is a term used to describe the low-cost and readily available fashion that is available nowadays. The term “fast” refers to how quickly merchants can get designs from the runway to the shelves while sustaining a steady demand for a variety of distinct styles. As globalisation has progressed, supply chains have become more extensive and global in scope, and the increase of fibre, textile manufacturing, and garment construction has transferred to more affordable regions (Khandual and Pradhan, 2019). Clothing manufacture becomes more affordable as a result of increased consumption, and prices are kept low by outsourcing production to low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

According to Zamani et al. (2017), several key trends have shaped the fashion business during the last two to three decades. The industry has evolved into a complex and fragmented global system centred on fairness. Constant consumption of new while discarding old. Initially, there was nothing. As the “fast fashion” business model spreads, new fashion trends are introduced faster. As a result, things are replaced too soon and fashion is obsolete. The business model also negatively impacts the environment and human health. Severe consequences for society, especially those at the supply chain’s base.

According to Niinimäki et al. (2020), worldwide, 80 billion new clothing are purchased annually for the global fashion business, resulting in a total annual revenue of EUR 1.2 billion. Even though the United Kingdom consumes more clothes and textiles than any other country in the world, the vast majority of the products are made in China and Bangladesh. Approximately 85 percent of British garment consumption, or nearly 3.8 billion pounds per year, is disposed of as solid waste, equating to nearly 80 pounds per person per year in the United Kingdom.

According to Garcia-Torres et al. (2017), the production of low-cost apparel and footwear has substantial global health consequences. A fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in 1911 improved workplace safety and labour norms in the UK, but not in developing countries. The hazardous working conditions that drew regulatory attention in the UK and the EU were simply transferred abroad. The worldwide textile and clothing sector also imposes enormous socioeconomic costs. Environmental destruction, human health concerns, and human rights violations are all related with the manufacture of fast fashion. Losses experienced by third parties or the general public as a result of unrestrained economic processes are characterised at these costs.

According to Zamani et al. (2017), the millennial generation has had the greatest impact on the fashion business in the last two to three decades. The industry has grown into a complex worldwide structure based on perpetual consumption of the ‘new’ and rejection of the ‘old.’ A continual consumption of ‘new’ and a rejection of ‘old’. Establishing a “fast fashion” business model has hastened the introduction of trends, leading to premature product replacement and fashion obsolescence. Also, this economic strategy has had a significant environmental and social impact, notably on the supply chain’s bottom end. Price reductions in clothing coupled with shorter trend cycles resulting in low quality and deliberate obsolescence have increased global apparel consumption in recent years. Clothing waste is a huge issue because most clothing and textile waste is thrown out rather than salvaged or repurposed (Zamani et al., 2017).

The consumption of clothing in the UK has more than tripled since 1960, as demonstrated in the infographic below. More resources are being required in the production and distribution of clothes as a result of an increase in demand. Based on the photo, it is clear that this has a huge negative impact on the ecology.

Figure SEQ Figure \* ARABIC 1: The graph shows the negative impact on ecology by the time

Every year, 80 billion pieces of clothes are discarded globally. Clothes can be thrown out for several reasons, including being ripped, not fitting properly, or simply taking up too much space in the wardrobe. As clothing becomes more affordable, more people can afford to buy more often, increasing demand and waste. Environmentalists have long feared fast fashion's role to garment waste. Only in 2013 did the EPA report 15.1 million metric tonnes of garment rubbish. In 2015, that figure was 92 million! This is because 85% of 'out-of-style' clothes ends up in landfills.

The theory of planned behaviour was applied in this study, with the addition of variables such as environmental values, shopping values, and understanding of the slow fashion. The notion of reasoned action makes use of attitudes and subjective standards as predictors of how an individual should conduct himself or herself. According to this idea, perceived behavioural control evolved into planned behavioural control and finally into the planned behavioural theory (Zamani et al., 2017). However, unlike the theory of reasoned action, which is still applicable to behaviours that are entirely controlled by will, this development of the theory of planned behaviour, which is applicable to purchasing behaviours in which economic considerations play a role in decision-making, is not entirely under volitional control.

The Fashion Industry and Fast Fashion

As time has passed, the fashion retail and manufacturing industries have grown into a multi-trillion-dollar industry. According to Angelis et al. (Angelis et al., 2020), the worldwide fashion business (2020) was worth an incredible €2.4 trillion in 2017 and increased at a rate of 5.5 percent per year. The United Kingdom spent €2.5 billion on garments alone in 2016. The fact that many Irish shoppers turned to highway retailers in search of less and more affordable apparel after the 2008 financial crisis is comprehensible. Individuals in need of a ‘quick fix’ can get it at one of these places, which are known as “quick fix” stores.

As Shirvanimoghaddam et al., (2020) said that clothing, has evolved into a consumer commodity that necessitates fast production in order to be purchased and worn at the same time. However, this sort of mass consumption has had a negative impact on the environment in a variety of ways, and it has been proved to have a negative impact in a variety of different regions throughout the world. Fast fashion, as it is now known, required that materials such as cotton be manufactured at rates that had never been seen before. It was a revolutionary concept.

Environmental factors impacting fast fashion

Every stage of the life cycle of a textile product has social and environmental ramifications, and what can be beneficial at one level of the supply chain can have detrimental consequences at other phases (Choi, and Luo, 2019).

Choi, and Luo, (2019) said that Cotton is one of the most water-intensive and pesticide-reliant crops on the planet. Chemical compounds and natural resources are used extensively during the manufacturing process, particularly during the teething, drying, and finishing stages, all of which have a significant environmental impact. Examples include the fact that a scarcity of water is the most significant source of human suffering in Central Asia and many other places of the world. Agricultural irrigation, notably for cotton production, consumes huge amounts of water and has been linked to shrinkage of the Aral Sea in Central Asia in recent history, an example of anthropogenic alterations in natural systems mostly caused by cotton production.

While Liu et al., (2020) said that Bamboo is a naturally renewable source of radiation, however its chemical intensity is low. The use of cotton, wool, and synthetic fibres has a significant environmental impact as well, due to the fact that the manufacture of cotton and wool necessitates the use of large amounts of water and chemicals. Synthetic fibre, on the other hand, is derived from non-renewable energy sources and is necessary for the production and transportation of large amounts of energy.

Wang et al., (2020) mentioned that on a daily basis, each individual consumes and discards a substantial number of products, increasing the environmental impact of population growth on the ecosystem. If 5 refers to a single product group, such as textiles, the situation becomes even dire. Despite the fact that other items may cause environmental damage, textiles are particularly essential because of the wide range of applications for which they are used. Various resources are utilised throughout the process, from the manufacturing of fibres through the disposal of products after their use, as well as waste and toxic emissions. All of these concerns have an impact on the local, regional, and global levels.

The Fashion Product Life Cycle

As per Wang et al., (2020) understanding apparel has a long and complex life cycle, which would include the supply chain as well as downstream activities after the manufacturing process is completed. In the textile industry, the life cycle includes a number of steps, including the generation of resources and their extraction, the manufacture of fibres and yarns, textile production and assembly (assembly), packaging and transportation (transportation and distribution), consumer use (use), recycling, and final disposal.

Khandual and Pradhan (2019) claimed that the environmental consequences of clothing manufacturing and use throughout its lifecycle include the discharge of wastewater, the generation of solid waste, and the depletion of major resources such as water, soil, minerals, and fossil fuels, among others. From cradle to grave, a life-cycle assessment (LCA) assesses the environmental consequences of a product or process, taking into consideration raw material extraction and acquisition as well as manufacturing assembly, transportation, usage, and disposal. When conducting a life cycle assessment (LCA), it is possible to obtain appropriate environmental indicators, such as identification of the most important environmental performance aspects; evaluation of the absolute and relative performance of alternative production and process approaches, which can aid in decision-making and serve as a foundation for the greening of business practises. A life cycle assessment (LCA) can provide an assessment of the environmental profile, allowing for a more accurate identification of where the greatest environmental repercussions occur within a garment’s life cycle.

Consumers and Fast Fashion

According to Wang et al. (2020) people who are interested in fashion and shopping will most likely gain a new understanding of clothing, which will lead to increased curiosity about eco-clothing and, as a result, a greater predisposition to purchase ecologically friendly clothing (EFC) in the future. Consumption of clothing on an impulsive basis in the fashion industry, where new clothing styles are made available to the average customer every week, has been fuelled by a shift in consumer attitudes toward clothing consumption, which has been linked to low-cost production and the procurement of materials from industrial markets outside of the world.

In accordance with the findings of the research, this is particularly apparent among young consumers, who are not particularly conscious of the social impact of their fashion purchases, but who yet have the largest need for new fashion goods. Retailers are well aware of the importance of swift fashion followers in today’s competitive industry. Clothing designed to be worn fewer than 10 times was available at major chain stores, yet Stringer et al. (2020) clothing studies discovered that one in every five young customers purchases a new piece of clothing every week.

According to Neumann et al. (2020) when there is an increase in the number of ‘fashion seasons’ recognised, fast fashion is able to satisfy the consumer’s “insatiable newness requirement,” (up from the traditional four). Improving the environment in which design, procurement, and manufacturing decisions are made based on speed rather than on long-term sustainability has been the standard practise. Changes in the supply of raw materials in the apparel industry support predictions that the demand for ethical clothing options will expand in the future.

According to Wang et al. (2020), the organic cotton fashion industry is growing at a rate of approximately 40% each year. New research, on the other hand, demonstrates that there are still significant barriers to participation in the purchasing of ethical clothes, including limitations in the availability and relative pricing of these products. Because of its economic implications, some academics refer to this as the “Fading Paradox,” in which fast- fashion is shielded from criticism for its inherent obsolescence and waste due to its inherent waste. This has the effect of slowing the advancement of the industry toward ethical behaviour and legitimising the position of unethical fast fashion in the marketplace.

Ethical and Sustainable Consumer Behaviour

According to Wang et al. (2020) the number of publications on consumer ethics has expanded significantly in recent years. But the notion of what it means to be an ethical consumer continues to be broad, with the notion of what it means to be really ethical consumption continuing to apply to a wide range of circumstances and beliefs. Taking into consideration these many points of view, ethical consumers could generally be defined as those who consider the broader impact of their consumption on physical, animal, and other human beings before making purchases. In spite of the shift towards more sustainable practises in many businesses, research has revealed that customers have not yet completely supported the purchase of sustainable goods and interest in eco-friendly activities across a wide range of categories. These findings demonstrate that, while increasing numbers of customers are highly convinced of the importance of purchasing eco-friendly products, these convictions do not always translate into action.

Wang et al., (2020) express that a fundamental concern of ethical or sustainable consumer engagement, according to researchers, revolves around the power dynamics inherent in the social practise standards of the specific market where purchasing happens. They extend this to ethical consumption and emphasize the difficulty that individuals have in living their lives totally in ethical environments. The notion that consumers struggle to establish ethical standards is widely held and adopting an anti-consumption stance is not always culturally or politically feasible.

Zhang et al., (2021) created the concept of ‘field autonomy’ with the goal of explaining the seeming conflict of acts in a variety of scenarios involving individuals. When operating in fast fashion, this is especially important since consumers are more concerned with eco-friendly alternatives, and because fast fashion is ubiquitous and provides a steady stream of products that are both new and more appealing. Even if consumers are consciously seeking items that are produced in accordance with ethical standards or from eco-friendly manufacturing sources, the ongoing anticipation of fashion 14 increases waste and disposal of goods that are deemed unusable after only a brief period of time in circulation.

Ethical Fashion: Fashion Retailers/Producers and Sustainability or The Rise of Eco-friendly Clothing in Fast Fashion

Brydges, (2021) mentioned companies are becoming increasingly conscious of the need to be eco-friendly and socially responsible as a result of these customer concerns, which is encouraging. Retailers are encouraged to participate and act as a result of the ethical trend. As an illustration, shopping bags made of organic cotton or recycled synthetic materials are becoming increasingly common in both small local businesses and large corporations.

Heinze, (2020) investigated that Consumers’ worries about ethical issues can be successfully channelled to increase receptivity to ethical modes of operation and change purchasing behaviour. Heinze also examined how the above factors may influence customers’ ethical purchasing decisions. “Ethical Business” was classified into two categories: socially responsible business (SRB) and environmentally responsible business (ERB). It recognised SRB as an entity working to change attitudes about issues like sweatshop labour and fair trade (Heinze, 2020). ERB is a corporation that promotes eco-fashion manufacturing, pollution prevention, and the use of organic fibres in the fashion sector.

Brydges (2021) defines “ethical fashion” as “a fashion item manufactured in sweatshop-free working conditions under fair trade laws to reduce the negative environmental impact of the production process.” As the mode with consciousness, it is concerned with the working and surrounding environments. In this way, fashion brands have been able to meet their social and environmental business duties, and thus the growing need of customers for sustainability (Brydges, 2021). Now that people all around the world are struggling for equality and sustainability, ethical mode is considered as going above and beyond its fundamental mission of meeting basic human physiological needs by addressing the unique psychological wants of consumers.

Figure SEQ Figure \* ARABIC 2: Leading 10 European fast fashion brands based on units sold per year worldwide in the financial year 2018/2019

Increasing awareness of sustainability issues is being raised on the consumer side of the fashion supply chain, according to Collison, K., (2021), as a result of the negative environmental impact of the fashion supply chain (FSC). Companies in the fashion industry, including manufacturers and merchants, are generating an increasing amount of eco-fashion advertising in order to encourage sustainable purchase. Although fashion buyers have a positive attitude toward environmental protection, they are less likely to express similar emotions when purchasing eco-friendly clothing.

Fast fashion as a global environmental justice issue

According to Collison (2021) the definition, environmental justice is defined as “equitable treatment and meaningful engagement of all persons in relation to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies, regardless of race, national origin, or socioeconomic standing”. For much of the twentieth century in the United Kingdom, this concept was used primarily in scientific literature and in practise to describe the disproportionate placement of super funded locations in or near colour communities (hazardous waste sites). But as previously said, environmental justice does not have to be limited to the United Kingdom and should not be constrained by geopolitical boundaries. For example, the textile and clothing industries are shifting the environmental and occupational costs of mass manufacturing and disposal from high-income countries to low-income groups (e.g., low-income employees, women) in low- and middle-income countries. For us to comprehend the scope of the global injustice perpetuated by the usage of low-cost clothing, we must broaden the scope of the environmental justice paradigm to include clothing manufacturers’ disproportionate environmental impacts on the environment (Collison, 2021).

Environmental hazards during production

Peters et al., (2021) analysed the first step in the global textile supply chain is the production of textiles, which includes the production of both natural and synthetic fibres. Approximately 90 percent of the clothing sold in the United Kingdom is made of cotton or polyester, both of which are connected with significant health consequences as a result of the manufacturing and production procedures used. Polyethylene, a synthetic textile made of oil, is produced in the same way that cotton is, although it requires the use of substantial amounts of water and pesticides. Textile dyeing entails additional dangers because untreated wastewater is frequently discharged into local water systems, releasing heavy metals and other toxicants that, in addition to affecting the health of nearby humans, can have a substantial impact on the health of animals.

Occupational hazards during production

Garment assembly, the next step in the global textile supply chain, employs more than 40 million people around the world. LMICs are responsible for 90 percent of all clothes produced worldwide. Occupation and safety rules are often not enforced in these LMICs due to a lack of political and organisational management infrastructure, which makes it difficult to police them. The result is a slew of work hazards, including respiratory hazards caused by poor ventilation, such as cotton and synthetic air particles, and musculoskeletal hazards caused by repetitive actions (Peters et al., 2021). The health hazards that prompted the formation of textile labour unions in the United Kingdom and the United States in the early 1900s have now been moved to low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) for employment. In LMICs, the repercussions are debilitating and potentially life-threatening, including lung disease and cancer, endocrine damage, unfavourable prenatal and reproductive impacts, unintentional injuries, overuse injuries, and mortality, among other things. World calamities such as the collapse of the Rana Plaza plant in Bangladesh in 2013, which claimed the lives of 1134 Bangladeshi garment workers, serve as a stark reminder of the dangers that apparel workers face in their jobs. Although these incidents occurred, there was little evidence that they had an impact on safety standards for LMIC workers.

Figure SEQ Figure \* ARABIC 3: Source: World Bank, World Development Indicators

Textile waste and eco-friendly

Even though finished apparel is regarded to be the end of the fashion business for customers in high-income countries, environmental injustices continue long after the material has been sold. The fast fashion approach encourages consumers to think of clothing as something that can be thrown away. Indeed, the average British person discards approximately 80 pounds of clothing and textiles every year, accounting for approximately 5 percent of total landfill space. Garments that are not sent directly to the sites are frequently repurposed in the garment industry (Liu et al., 2020). Every year, around 500,000 tonnes of old clothing are shipped from the United Kingdom, with the majority of them ending up in LMICs. In 2015, the United Kingdom exported used clothing worth more than €700 million. In order to sell second-hand clothing outside of the United Kingdom market, 1000-pound bales of clothing are packed and shipped around the world for “classification” (sorting, categorising, and re-balancing) by LMIC low-wage workers, who then resell the items in second-hand markets. Unmarked apparel is converted into solid waste, which clogs waterways, greenways, and parks, as well as creating the potential for additional environmental problems in LMICs that do not have robust municipal waste management systems (Liu et al., 2020).

“Fast fashion opens up stylish clothing to the general public at a reasonable cost.” Despite the fact that this statement is legally correct, it fails to explain WHY these clothes are so low-cost. Discarded clothing is the primary source of fabric in municipal solid trash, according to the UK Environmental Protection Agency. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), textiles accounted for 6.3% of all municipal solid garbage generated in 2017. Only 15.2% of the fabrics, or 2.6 million tonnes, were recycled from the garbage, with the remaining 11.2 million tonnes ending up in landfills. These figures may help put the amount of waste generated from clothing in perspective.

Figure SEQ Figure \* ARABIC 4: Textile waste management from 1960-2017

Solutions, innovation, and social justice

As per Shirvanimoghaddam et al., (2020) understanding environmental justice is a challenge at every stage of the global supply chain, including the manufacturing and distribution stages. Global environmental justice will be determined by technological innovation in textile creation, business sustainability, commercial policy, and consumer behaviour.

Sustainable fibers

Choi, and Luo, (2019) also discusses that to be sustainable in fibre production, procedures and laws must be implemented that minimise environmental damage as well as exploitation of people and natural resources in order to meet consumer demands. Natural cellulosic and protein fibres are typically considered to be better for the environment and human health; nevertheless, some natural and synthetic fibres are believed to be eco-friendlier and eco-friendlier. Products such as Lyocell, which is made of bamboo cellulose, are produced in a closed cycle in which 99 percent of the chemicals used in the production of fibres are recycled. The use of eco-friendly fibres is essential for reducing the negative impact of textile production on our environment.

Figure SEQ Figure \* ARABIC 5: Source (World fibre consumption survey)

Corporate sustainability

Organisations that supervise and certify fair trade and production standards, such as the United Kingdom Fair Trade Organisation and the National Council of Textiles, provide evaluation and audit tools for fair trade and production standards. Others are complicit in the “greenwashing” process, despite the fact that some of their products have been authorised by one or more of these independent accreditation organisations. Businesses use the emotional attraction of eco-friendly and fair-trade products to advertise their products as “green” without requiring them to meet any specific requirements (Shirvanimoghaddam et al., 2020). For the purpose of combating these practises, worldwide certification norms should be implemented across the sector in order to promote eco-friendly practises that also promote health and safety throughout the supply chain.

Implications for fashion companies

According to Peters et al. (2021), eco-fashion consumption is a critical player in the generation of eco-fashion demand in the context of FSC’s sustainable development. It is critical for fashion companies to develop marketing programmes that encourage eco-fashion consumption while also facilitating the expansion of sustainable FSC. The ability of fashion companies to influence the purchasing behaviour of fashion consumers is reliant on their ability to meet the needs of their customers, which is dependent on their ability to meet the needs of their customers. However, in reality, the unique characteristics of the product and retail store that cater to fashion consumers are stimulating, such as displaying the latest fashion trends. It has been demonstrated by Neumann et al. (2020) that store-related characteristics (SRA) have a positive impact on ECD and that modes can encourage fashion companies to purchase eco-fashion by incorporating SRA into their product offerings and delivering benefits to their customers.

Wang et al., (2020) analysed that many businesses, especially garment makers, are committed to the long-term development of their products through the implementation of environmental protection standards in their operations. Sustainable development is to ensure that we can meet the demands of the present without jeopardising the ability of future generations to meet their own requirements (World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987). Environmental sustainability has recently risen to the top of the priority list of management issues. Researchers and practitioners are interested in this area because they are confronted with the challenge of balancing environmental and business requirements. There is a great deal of pressure on the use of transgenic cotton in businesses that have a significant environmental impact and are highly visible to the general public, such as the fashion industry. Transgenic cotton was developed by conferring insecticide and herbicidal capabilities to the cotton plant. Companies that manufacture clothing and their suppliers are directly responsible for environmental problems.

Companies should not only create and develop apparel and clothing made from sustainable and recycled materials, but they also need to improve their store-related attributes (SRA) in order to better suit the needs of fashion consumers, as proposed by the authors. Fashion clients, on the whole, have three distinct requirements. Physical, emotional, and psychological demands are all factored into the equation. As a marketing technique, fashion companies are urged to adopt or improve SRA in order to better meet the physical, emotional, and psychological needs of their customers in order to increase environmental fashion consumption and, as a result, to facilitate the development of FSC-certified sustainable products.

The fashion industry, according to Khandual and Pradhan (2019), refers to a style that is widely recognised by a group of customers at a specific time, which may include apparel, shoes, and purses, among other items of personal belonging. Introduction, acceptance, and reversion are the stages of the acceptance of a style’s life cycle, from which it derives its name. At the introduction stage, only a small number of customers will accept a style, and then a larger number of customers will accept a style at the acceptance stage. During the regression stage, the fashion trend gradually fades away and becomes obsolete. The life of a mode might range from a few weeks to several decades or even longer. A fashion trend may last for a long period or it may go completely from the market.

In recent years, the fashion industry has decreased the life cycle of a style by adopting a “fast fashion” approach to commercial operations. Angelis and colleagues (2020) discuss a short fashion life cycle of one month or less. Globalisation and technological development have made it possible for the fashion industry to take advantage of cheap resources, particularly raw materials, and labour, from any location in the world at any time. The industry can also reduce the time it takes from the point of manufacture to the point of consumption. One of the goals of this business model is to get clothes into stores as soon as possible after it has been designed (Angelis et al., 2020). Consequently, purchasers can take advantage of the most up-to-date fashions at the most affordable prices.

As Collison, K. (2021) points out, fast fashion enterprises produce low-cost knockoffs of the newest high-quality styles and offer them every few weeks rather than once a season, as is the case with traditional fashion. Customers purchase fast fashion items impulsively and in large quantities as a result of current trends and low prices. There are so many readily available media outlets and publications covering fashion news, catwalk trends, and celebrities, consumers’ interest in fashion and their own personal appearances has been increasing. These consumers desire innovation and variety, and as a result, they shop frequently.

Trade policy

In spite of the fact that fair trade and eco-friendly textile production sectors are still in their infancy, auditing ethical and ecologically sound supply networks is a time-consuming and expensive endeavour for many small fair-trade firms (Wang et al., 2020). High-income countries can improve workplace safety and environmental health by enacting trade policy and legislative changes in their own countries. In spite of the fact that occupational and environmental limitations are typically only applicable within a country’s borders, there are a number of ways in which policymakers might quickly reduce global environmental health hazards. For example, the United Kingdom could increase import charges on textiles and garments, or it could impose annual restrictions or limits on the amount of goods imported from low-income countries. Some LMICs have begun to place restrictions on the importation of used clothing that has reached the end of its useful life cycle. “Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda are boosting tariffs on imported second-hand apparel while offering incentives to local manufacturers,” according to a recent research released by the United Nations Africa Renewal Council.

The role of the consumer

According to Brydges, (2021) trade policies and regulations will prove to be the most effective means of bringing about large-scale changes in the fast fashion industry. Consumers in high-income countries, on the other hand, have a responsibility to support businesses and practises that minimise their negative impact on humans and the environment. While certifications are striving to increase industry standards, customers must be wary of green washing and cautious in determining which companies maintain high standards in comparison to those that make broad, comprehensive social and sustainable claims. However, if customers want to make a difference in the fashion industry’s environmental justice challenges, they should follow the old adage of ‘less is more’ rather than expecting more for less.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 12, “Sustainable consumption and production patterns,” aims to rectify the imbalances produced by unrestrained consumerism by promoting sustainable consumption and production patterns (Brydges, 2021). Purchasing long-lasting, high-quality clothes, shopping at second-hand stores, repairing clothing, and purchasing clothing from businesses with transparent supply chains are all ways that consumers in high-income countries can contribute to environmental justice.

During the previous two to three decades, the fashion industry has felt the effects of several significant trends that have shaped the sector. The industry has evolved into a complicated and fragmented global system, which is fundamentally based on the concept of fairness. Consumption of the ‘new’ on a continuous basis, while discarding the ‘old.’ In the beginning, there was nothing. The proliferation of the “fast fashion” business model has accelerated the introduction of new fashion trends. As a result, products are replaced prematurely and fashion becomes out of date. In addition, the business model has a significant negative impact on the environment and on human health. The impact on society, and particularly on those at the bottom of the supply chain, is significant. This chapter covered the detailed study of fast fashion, environmental facts that place an impact on fast fashion, fast fashion as a global environment and trade policies.

Overview of H&M and ZARA

The History and Development of H&M

In 1947, H&M’s first store in Sweden, Västers, opened its doors. Erling Persson was the brains behind the creation of H&M. He got the concept while on a business trip to the United States, where he met people in the American ready-made clothes industry and returned to Sweden with it. H&M now has 1,345 locations across 28 countries, employing over 60,000 people. In addition to clothing, H&M also has a brand of cosmetics and provides a variety of accessories, including nightwear, underwear, and t-shirts for women, men, and children. H&M’s slogan and philosophy are “Fashion and quality at the best price” through the same campaign in all markets. H&M has a design and purchasing department that creates all of the apparel lines, so this is all possible. H&M’s stores receive new merchandise practically every day. In just 20 days, H&M can take a garment from concept to hanger.

Throughout the year, H&M buys items in order to better match their products to the market, and finding the proper lead-time is critical for them. H&M’s purchasing decisions are influenced by what’s hot on the market and what’s selling well. There are two distinct seasons in the H&M fashion year. It takes around six months to order popular styles, but just a few weeks to get them on store shelves after they’ve been ordered.

There were SEK 80,081 million in sales for H&M in 2006, and Germany is now the largest market, followed by the UK and Sweden. H&M does not have any production facilities of its own; everything is outsourced. H&M, on the other hand, maintains tight control over the entire production process, even when it is outsourced. H&M has a total of 22 manufacturing facilities located throughout Europe, Asia, the Central American region, and the African continent. For the most part, H&M works with 700 different vendors across Asia and Europe. Each and every production office is in charge of ensuring that the things purchased are priced correctly, are of high quality, and are manufactured in accordance with appropriate guidelines and regulations..

The formation of wholly-owned companies is how H&M plans to grow and find new markets. The Middle East, on the other hand, is an outlier. Except for the development of the franchising arrangement in Alshaya, a prominent retailer in the Middle East, franchising is not part of the H&M philosophy. When H&M sells to Alshaya, the company turns over the inventory and sells it back to customers. H&M is able to reach a territory without the resources to establish a wholly-owned subsidiary this way.

60 percent of purchases are made in China, with 40 percent made in Europe during fiscal years 2004/2005. H&M imports a lot from Kina. Isolating his imports to one country would put them at a significant risk. This is especially true for countries like China, where shipping things from China to the end site can take up to 24 days. Because of its physical location and favourable tradability, European production will persist.

H&M uses only a few middlemen in order to provide high-quality products at an affordable price to its customers. H&M claims to buy the correct things in large quantities from the right markets because of this. The company is well-versed in the fields of design, fashion, and fabrics, and it always strives to keep costs low. H&M has a well-oiled distribution system in place to meet customer demand. Finally, the firm’s efficiency is primarily reliant on its IT system. H&M’s company culture, which encourages adaptability and flexibility, is another key asset.

The History and Development of ZARA

H&M’s success has been well documented over the years, but it appears that the Spanish store Inditex, the parent company of ZARA, will be a tough competitor going forward.

H&M’s position as Europe’s largest fashion shop was successfully retaken by ZARA. ZARA is a part of Inditex, the world’s largest garment manufacturer, which operates over 3,100 stores in over 70 countries, with ZARA accounting for about 1,020 of those stores in 68 of those countries. All in all, there are about 32,000 people working for the company. There are also over 200 designers and an impressive new inventory of 20,000 outfits that comprises clothing for both men and women, as well as children. Due to its affiliation with Inditex, ZARA has maintained a high level of organisational and knowledge management synergy.

Amancio Ortega Gaona launched the first ZARA store in Spain in 1975. ZARA’s initial “idea” was to sell low-cost, trend-following clothing that looked expensive. As a result of this being a success, more ZARA shops throughout Spain were open

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