News by Maddy Coffey

ASOS has returned to the House of Lords to co-host a Modern Slavery forum with Baroness Lola Young, Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Ethics and Sustainability in Fashion. The forum has called for brands to implement ‘meaningful’ practices to prevent human rights abuses in their supply chains and support victims of past offences.

A year since the 2018 inaugural session, which addressed the shared risks in the apparel sector, the event reviewed progress made and sought pledges from other leading brands to join the efforts in tackling modern slavery. Attendees and speakers included executives from ASOS third party brands, such as Boohoo, Dr Martens, River Island, and industry colleagues including M&S.

ASOS CEO Nick Beighton said, “With a growing legislative focus on modern slavery, there’s never been a better time to act together to drive systemic change in the industry. That’s why we’re calling on those present to join us in signing our pledge to tackle modern slavery and move beyond commitment to more concrete action and collaboration.”

The forum took place on the same day that ASOS released its annual Modern Slavery Statement, which forms part of its broader Ethical Trade Strategy. Over the past year, ASOS has delivered initiatives that both expose and aim to combat the range of ethical hurdles that the fashion industry faces – often ones of its own making.

Such initiatives include Modern Slavery workshops for third party brands which ASOS co-delivered in collaboration with Anti-Slavery International, as well as the launch of an online training resource for third party brands, produced in conjunction with the London College of Fashion, to help them meet modern slavery legislation requirements.

In the high-street arena, ASOS is leading the way. Though it may have a way to go in becoming a perfectly conscious and sustainable platform, the online retailer illustrates how leading brands can utilise their status to alter the industry’s social impact.

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