Is ASOS ethical?
Our research highlights several ethical issues with ASOS, including climate change, environmental reporting, habitats & resources, palm oil, pollution and toxics, arms & military supply, human rights, workers' rights, supply chain management, irresponsible marketing, animal rights, animal testing, factory farming, anti-social finance, controversial technologies and political activities.
Below we outline of some of these issues. To see the full detailed stories, and ASOS overall ethical rating, please sign in or subscribe.
ASOS made considerable improvements in its supply chains from 2011 to 2017. In 2011 it received Ethical Consumer’s worst rating for its supply chain management, and in 2017 it moved up to a best rating.
Its Code of Conduct has been brought in line with the Ethical Trading Initiative’s basic code and is working to transform issues such as living wages in its supply chain. In 2018 ASOS also published a full list of its suppliers after a call for more transparency in the fashion industry.
Unfortunately ASOS’s approach to the environment is not as promising. Its 2017 environmental report showed some understanding of its main environmental impacts, with, for example, a report on its carbon footprint and packaging. However, it failed to present a toxics policy on how to reduce its use of chemicals in textile production.
In 2017 a report titled ‘Dirty Fashion’ uncovered the environmental damage caused by irresponsible production practices at Aditya Birla Group’s viscose plants in India and Indonesia. ASOS was one of the clothing brands named in the report as a customer of Aditya Burla. The investigation found that the air and water emissions of some chemicals exceeded regulatory limits, indicating a serious potential threat to the local environment and the health and well-being of its workers and the communities living nearby.
ASOS has a positive animal welfare policy. It commits to not selling cosmetics that have been tested on animals, including having a policy against selling branded products that test on animals.