How Ethical is ASOS?

By February 14, 2017Fashion
Models wearing asos clothing

Over the past few years, British company ASOS has blown up and become one of the world’s most popular online fashion destinations. They sell over 850 different brands and also make their own range of affordable clothing and accessories. But how ethical is the ASOS private range, and should you be looking elsewhere for your online shopping fix?

While the prospect of cheap and cute fashion delivered to your doorstep excites us all, the low price-tags often belie the true cost of fast fashion: questionable labour policies and production processes that are detrimental to the environment. So let’s take a look at the impact of ASOS on people, the planet and animals.

Environmental Impact: Mixed

ASOS are certified carbon neutral. They implement emission reduction measures in their warehouses and during the delivery process, and they have moved to reduce the amount of waste that comes from their packaging. However, these policies don’t appear to apply to ASOS’ own brand supply chain. The ASOS brand doesn’t cite use many eco-friendly materials in their clothing, and they haven’t committed to eliminating the use of hazardous chemicals in the production of materials.


In 2010, ASOS introduced a collection called the ‘Eco Edit’ — a selection of clothing, accessories and beauty products marketed for its lower environmental impact. ASOS private label clothing comprises about a quarter of this collection with pieces made in conjunction with fair labour partners in Kenya, and some lower impact fabrics like Tencel.

This is certainly a start for ASOS. It’s a sign that customer demand for ethical products is growing, and the company is responding. However, this collection only accounts for a small percentage of the total items made by ASOS, the rest of the range isn’t covered by strong policies that look to reduce their impact in the making stages.

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Labour Conditions: Mixed


Since 2009 ASOS has been a member of the Ethical Trade Initiative (ETI), which promotes respect for workers’ rights internationally. ASOS uses the ETI’s code of conduct and states that the company is monitored and audited. However, the audit results that are published are not comprehensive enough, and ASOS doesn’t publish a list of direct suppliers on its website.

Animal Welfare: Mixed


ASOS has banned the use of angora and other furs in their products. However, it does use wool and leather without specifying their sources.

Overall Rating: Not Good Enough GoY-Ratings_2

ASOS is rated as ‘Not Good Enough’ in the Good On You app. They’ve made some progress by: implementing measures to reduce carbon emissions; banning fur; offering a more conscious collection; and collaborating with ETI to improve labour conditions. However, much more can still be done. ASOS needs to improve in all areas.

So, our take? If you’ve got an ASOS habit that just won’t give, check out the Eco Edit for better choices. Or even better, try ASOS stocked brands that we rate highly such as People Tree or Matt & Nat.

Use the Good On You app to discover great ethical brands!



Editors Note: Images are correct at time of publication.

Images via  Instagram, Pinterest and ASOS

Lara Robertson

Author Lara Robertson

Lara is a media student and writer at Good On You. She is a passionate vegan, bibliophile, fashionista and crazy cat lady, who hopes to spend her life writing about her passions and values.

More posts by Lara Robertson

Join the discussion 6 Comments

  • Andrew says:

    Do you have information on how ethical is their recent line of sportswear, ASOS 4505?

    • says:

      Hi Andrew
      In general we assess the brand and it’s practices as a whole. Unless they offer a product range that is specifically designed to address key ethical and sustainability issues, a line specific rating is unlikely to be different (except in relation to the impacts of specific materials on animals and the environment.) best

  • Sarah says:

    Two of my black trousers bought from asos where made in china and im a bit dubious in whether they contain harmful dye toxins!!! As China is known to be one of the main countries who still use toxic dyes that could cause CANCER!!!

  • Otis Bala says:

    Asos bans the use of angora and other furs in their products – but you still see them as not doing enough to protect the welfare of animals?

    Is this because they use Wool and Leather?

    • Gordon Renouf Gordon Renouf says:

      Hi Otis
      Sorry about the delay in replying to your comment! Good On You looks at 8 animal issues, which are listed on this page* which describes how we rate each brand for their impact on people, the planet and animals. In relation to wool and leather we consider not only whether or not the brand uses those materials but the information they publish on where they source the materials, any relevant animal welfare standards and whether or not they take action to avoid the painful practice of ‘mulesing’ sheep.

  • Rachael says:

    Great article, thanks for the well summarised insights! Agree – not good enough and I will not buy from them with their current practices. But looking forward to see how they evolve <3

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