Ethical shopping in London

Major fashion chains are only interested in profit, right? Increasingly, clothing-industry heavyweights are claiming to reduce carbon emissions, banning harmful chemicals, ethically trading goods and ensuring factory workers are treated fairly. But are the corporations' claims bona fide? Time Out sorts the saints from the sinners

  • Ethical shopping in London

    Ethics on the line: the high street's cleanest and greenest


  • At the launch of its Fairtrade initiative last year, Topshop filled its entire Oxford Circus flagship store’s window display with models wearing Fairtrade dresses; Marks and Spencer’s ‘Look Behind the Label’ campaign is plugged on billboards and TV; and barely a day goes by without another high-street fashion chain announcing its latest organic babywear initiative. For years, campaigners have been pushing fashion stores to ensure that they adopt policies on the environment, animal rights and workers’ rights in their company code of conduct. Now the stores are finally realising that ethical shopping can mean big business.

    But behind the glossy ads and high-profile launches, how ethical is your favourite high-street shop? We compared the biggest high-street chains on five key criteria to see who deserves applause and who must try harder.'

    1 Ethical trading and employee welfare

    2 Fairtrade 3 Organic cotton 4 Chemicals 5 The environment

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