10 Jul

How Ethical Is Forever 21?

Positioning themselves as fun ‘n’ flirty on a budget has worked well for Forever 21. This family-owned brand has grown over the last 30 years to be the fifth biggest specialty retailer in the United States and over 480 stores globally. But is Forever 21 doing the right thing for people and the planet?

Environmental Impact: Very Poor

Forever 21 have failed to say anything meaningful about their sustainability policies. As a shopper, we believe that you have the right to know how their production practices impact on our environment. This lack of transparency is really not good enough.

Labour Conditions: Not Good Enough

Forever 21 received an overall score of D+ from the 2017 Ethical Fashion Report – which looks at criteria including payment of a living wage, transparency and worker empowerment initiatives. They do trace some of their supply chain and have a Supplier Code of Conduct, but that’s the only good news. Forever 21 only audits a tiny portion of their facilities over a two-year period and has failed to provide any worker empowerment initiatives.

They are one of the only fast fashion brands to still refuse to sign the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety – a legally binding agreement which requires brands to ensure safe working conditions in supplier factories. They’ve also made no significant progress towards paying employees across their supply chain with a living wage.

Animal Welfare Rating: Not Good Enough

Although they don’t use fur, down, angora or exotic animal skin, they still use wool, leather and exotic animal hair.

Overall Rating: Not Good Enough

Rated: Not Good Enough

We’ve rated Forever 21 ‘Not Good Enough’ based on information from the 2017 Ethical Fashion Report and our own research. Even compared to other fast fashion giants such as H&M, Zara and Uniqlo - Forever 21 is left trailing behind. It's time for Forever 21 stop paying lip-service to corporate social responsibility and to be more transparent.

Editor's note: Ratings correct at time of publication. Good On You did not receive compensation for mentioning the brands listed in this article. Images via Forever 21, Delikate Rayne, Bon Label, Auria and Vaute.

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