Shein pumps tons more pollution than its rivals to capitalize on Britain’s obsession with cheap clothing
A FAST fashion company pumps out tons more pollution than its competitors as it capitalizes on Britain’s obsession with cheap clothing, a Sun investigation found on Sunday.
Expected to take four million orders from the UK this Christmas, Shein is creating a toxic carbon footprint by flying in cheap jeans, t-shirts and dresses from its base in China.
While many of his competitors place orders months in advance and ship their goods to the warehouses, Shein uses an endless conveyor belt of cargo planes to move clothes when the orders come in.
Every 5,000 mile flight from China to London carries 38 tons of clothing and emits 175 tons of CO2 – the same as driving a car over 560,000 miles.
Last night, the £ 35 billion deal – which includes celebrity ambassadors like Georgia “Toff” Toffolo and Khloe Kardashian and fans like singers Katy Perry and Rita Ora – was slammed by charities.
Annie Bocock of the sustainable development group Raleigh International said: “The results of The Sun on Sunday are very worrying.”
And Jenny Bates of Friends Of The Earth added: “We have to stop accepting that greedy fashion brands can produce endlessly more clothes because some of this destructive fast fashion is flying them around the world.
“This increases the damage that CO2 emissions cause to the climate, nature and people.”
In response to our findings, Shein told The Sun on Sunday, “We are aware of the high carbon footprint of air cargo and will be working with industry colleagues to find ways to reduce this impact.
“We are assessing the carbon footprint of our manufacturing base and will work with our supply chain partners to set and meet greenhouse gas reduction targets.”
Competing brands BooHoo and Missguided rely mainly on road deliveries transported from their UK factories.
Asos uses a combination of road and air.
Earlier this year, the company released its 2021 Carbon Report, which showed that total operational emissions were reduced by 13 percent in 2020 compared to 2019 – from 268,239 tons of CO2 to 232,503 tons.
Zara also uses roads and air. The website of Inditex, the company that owns the retailer, states: “81 percent of our global energy consumption comes from clean sources – we are 100 percent committed by 2022.”
The UK is now estimated to buy two tons of clothing every 60 seconds – with the pandemic driving clothing purchases at home 46 percent higher.
And this year Shein has become the king of the industry. In America, it has overtaken Amazon as the most downloaded app. And in the UK, web traffic doubled, dwarfing rivals like Asos and Boohoo.
In January, Shein even made an offer to buy Topshop. Little is known about the company, however.
Central to success is the role of social media, celebrities and online influencers, including student “campus ambassadors”.
Shein has more than 250 million followers on his social media channels.
And TikTok posts with the hashtag “Sheinhaul”, which customers post when their goods arrive, have a total of 3.7 billion views.
The company was founded in 2008 by CEO Chris Xu, also known as YangTian Xu.
He doesn’t give interviews, so information about him is scarce. According to some reports he is Chinese and others according to American. Shein’s website states that its main markets are “Europe, America, Australia and the Middle East and Other Hypermarkets,” but it does not specify the location from which the clothing is sold.
The Sun bought clothes from its range on Sunday, including those promoted by 2017 I’m A Celebrity Winner Toff.
Our packages arrived a week later, some from Hermes, some from Royal Mail.
Among the stamps we discovered other stickers clearly showing that they were flown to Heathrow from China.
Shein is operated from the Pearl River Delta in Guangdong Province in southern China.
It doesn’t sell clothes in China, it ships to 220 countries.
These transactions are exempt from export taxes and almost all small packages fall under the US and Europe import duty threshold.
This helps the company set prices lower than its competitors, with dresses starting as low as £ 1.99.
The fashion industry causes 1.2 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions, and the World Bank estimates that it accounts for 10 percent of the world’s annual carbon emissions.
This is more than global shipping and international flights combined.
And the growth of fast fashion means that this proportion will increase by more than 50 percent by 2030.
CO2 emissions are caused by shipping, packaging, production and water pollution.
A study by SaveOnEnergy even showed that online sales create a toxic cloud due to the emissions caused by the electricity that powers the computers.
Many of these items of clothing also end up in landfills.
One in three young women in the UK rates something worn once or twice as “old” and refuses to wear dresses more than once on social media images.
Lorna Fallon, Retail Director of the Oxfam charity, said, “Fast fashion is a problem for the planet and its people. When clothes are produced cheaply, it often means low wages and poor working conditions for the workers. “
At the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow last month, the signatories of the Fashion Industry Charter For Climate Action pledged to cut emissions by half within the next decade.
Retailers like H&M Group, Inditex VF Corp and Nike are committed to working towards net zero by 2050.
However, Shein, Boohoo, Asos and Fashion Nova were not on the list.
A recent report on the Good On You app, which rates ethical retailers, said, “Shein received our lowest rating of” Very Bad for the Planet “.
Aside from using some eco-friendly materials here and there, there is no evidence that the brand is taking reasonable steps to reduce its significant impact on the environment.
“Aside from using some eco-friendly materials here and there, there is no evidence that the brand is taking reasonable steps to reduce its significant impact on the environment.”
Last month, Swiss human rights group Public Eye claimed that some people in Shein’s supply chain were working up to 13 hours a day, seven days a week, without paying overtime.
The researchers said they couldn’t see emergency exits in factories, claimed the entrances and stairs did not allow workers to exit the premises quickly, and said the upstairs windows were barred.
In response to these allegations, a Shein spokesman told The Sun on Sunday: “We have still not received the names and addresses of the facilities mentioned in the report.
“However, we take allegations of Code of Conduct violations in our supply chain seriously and are investigating suppliers in the district named in the Public Eye report to identify violations.
“We comply with all trade regulations in the regions in which we operate.”
What the celebrities are saying
RITA ORA: Singer participated in the Shein Together virtual music festival last year, which was streamed through the company’s app.
But Rita, 31, posted to her 16 million Instagram followers last April: “Happy #EarthDay everyone !!! More important than ever to celebrate the planet and make sure we take care of it !! ”
She also signed the Sky and World Wildlife Fund-supported Pass On Plastic Campaign, which called for people to end the use of single-use plastic – and designed a reusable bottle.
KHLOE KARDASHIAN: The reality star and model were signed up as Shein ambassadors in September to judge a fashion competition.
But Khloe, 37, loves to trumpet her eco credentials. She showed off her reusable water bottle to her 200 million Insta followers last June and criticized anyone who didn’t use a similar water bottle.
It backfired with the fans because of their jet set life. In a similar way, a follower posted her connection to Shein: Is that a joke? “
Another said: “Shein is one of the most unethical fast fashion brands.”
GEORGIA TOFFOLO: The former Made In Chesea reality star launched a clothing line called Shein this summer.
She told her 1.8 million strong Insta tribe: “My collection with @shein_gb has gone down. Tag me in your # SHEINXTOFF pictures. I love the way you style the pieces. “
But after winning I’m A Celeb in 2017, Georgia, 27, shared how one of the highlights of her jungle break was learning about saving the planet from Campmate Stanley Johnson, father of Prime Minister Boris. She said, “He taught me all about environmental protection.”
NICK JONAS: His band Jonas Brothers headlined the second virtual festival Shein Together in May – and raved about how he likes to “team up with companies that care about doing good in the world”.
But Nick, 29, thinks he’s just great. In 2009, the Jonas Brothers performed the song Send It On for the Disney’s Friends For Change charity campaign – and urged fans to get greener.
Nick also joined Katy Perry at a Google Camp in 2019, along with vocal green activists Leo DiCaprio and Stella McCartney.
HAILEY BIEBER, 25: Made a special appearance for Shein’s Together Event in May 2020.
The model is also an ambassador for sustainable fashion brands like Supergra and Pangaia.
But last summer, Hailey and her pop star husband Justin drove across the States in a huge, gas-guzzling luxury RV.
They have traveled thousands of miles in their bespoke Prevost Coach RV despite making donations to charities along the way.
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