Retailers urged to reduce returns, share fashion’s carbon impact

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Retailers urged to reduce returns, share fashion’s carbon impact

True Fit’s survey, which was conducted on over 1000 UK fashion shoppers by True Fit shows that as green retail demands become a key factor for generating sales and driving loyalty amongst Gen Z shoppers, almost a third (31%) of this demographic wants the sustainability credentials of a garment clearly stated on the label.

While a quarter (25%) said brands should show the CO2 ‘price’ for each item, alongside the actual cost of the piece of clothing, to help them make informed decisions.

Almost two-thirds (62%) of Gen Z shoppers believe retailers could help them shop more sustainably by not offering fast fashion altogether or moving towards slow fashion collections. This, they suggest, could feature more sustainably manufactured garments that are made to last.

Reducing fashion return rates is key to reducing carbon emissions

True Fit explains the sustainability of returns is being called into question following a British Fashion Council report that warned 23 million returned garments were sent to landfill or incinerated last year in the UK, generating 750,000 tonnes of CO₂ emissions.

True Fit’s research suggests sustainably minded Gen Z shoppers would be motivated to return less if they were aware of the carbon costs associated with each return. Just over a fifth (21%) agreed that knowing the carbon emissions associated with online fashion returns would encourage them to make conscious purchase choices.

The report also highlights that reducing returns is a key way for retailers to get rid of unnecessary carbon emissions. It states a third of Gen Z shoppers (33%) want retailers to make it easier for them to return less so their carbon footprint would be smaller, with another two-thirds (65%) suggesting improved sizing information or personalised fit recommendations would help them choose the best fitting item, leading to less returns.

Jessica Arredondo Murphy, co-founder and COO at True Fit, explained that concerns about product returns have shifted from profit to a sustainable future.

Murphy said: “Two important things we have all learned about returns in the last five years – they are not going to go away, and there is no single magic bullet that will solve them. That being said, it is worth starting with the imperatives for action. While once this was mostly about protecting profit margins, now we are talking about the very real need to address returns for the sake of a sustainable future for fashion in the context of its environmental footprint and the growth of ecommerce.”

She emphasised that looking more deeply into who returns and why provides retailers and brands with the ammunition they need for change – with size and fit remaining key drivers for fashion returns and size sampling behaviours.

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