For years, Primark has stood for “disposable fashion” and for its manufacturing conditions in criticism. Because of the poor quality, many garments would end up in the garbage very quickly. George Weston, the head of the multicorporate AB Foods, to which Primark belongs, countered: his cheap fashion is much more environmentally friendly than online shopping.

According to Georg Weston, Primark has “one of the most efficient supply chains in the world,” he told The Times. “We don’t ship the goods by air freight, but much lower in emissions,” he added. “We are not a problem, we are a solution.

According to Weston, vans that have to drive up and down the street to deliver parcels are more damaging than customers that can buy their goods in the store. With regard to the criticism that Primark customers are buying fashion to throw away, Weston says that customers are not buying clothes they only wear once.

Online shopping is greener than retail shopping

Experts do not think much of the Primark boss’s argumentation. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the USA found out that online purchases are often even more environmentally friendly than retail purchases. Orders that have to be loaded into a large truck are less harmful to the environment than many different cars that have to travel long distances to the mall.

Another thing is when people go shopping by bike or public transport. Weston also seems to be referring to this. In addition, the current trend of very fast deliveries within hours or one day increases the CO2 footprint. Often the problem here is that the trucks are not fully loaded.

Monica Buchan-Ng of the Centre for Sustainable Fashion at the London College of Fashion is of secondary importance for Monica Buchan-Ng because both do not reflect the real environmental costs. She increasingly sees the overproduction of clothing as a problem that has a significant impact on climate change.

 

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Image: iStock

//JP