It has never been more on trend to shop and live in a sustainable way than it is in 2019. Social and environmental responsibilities are no longer merely advisory; brands are now expected to follow them – giving way to a much better future for the next generation of consumers.

Larger brands have a much larger responsibility to follow sustainable policies due to the bigger impact they can have – but many consumers are still unaware of which brands are doing everything they can to make sure their clothing ranges are as responsible as possible.

Some large brands such as ASOS, for example, are leading the way. They fight to ensure that human rights are upheld at every stage of the production process, and have developed an online training programme to inform their staff about modern slavery. They are also working to improve their sustainability and make sure that the role they play continues to be as responsible as possible. As things stand, 71 per cent of the cotton used in the production of ASOS clothing is from sustainable sources, and they have set themselves a target of 95 per cent by 2020. Finding sustainable fashion brands such as this has never been easier; with information readily available to customers on the internet about different companies’ policies and responsibility pledges. Making a naughty purchase doesn’t seem quite as naughty when you know the good that is being done behind the scenes.

There are also many brands out there engaging in a wider range of initiatives in an effort to become even more socially responsible. As well as pledging to reduce their carbon footprint in general, many donate funds to renewable energies and offer grants to social justice programs. These are, of course, the social and environmental changes that all brands should be committing their time and money to. As one larger brand encourages a particular sustainable practice, another follows suit. Small, positive steps in the right direction such as these have the potential to make a huge difference in the long term.

Businesses are promoting the changes that they are making as much as possible, with the goal of attracting like-minded customers who approve of their campaigns. A report carried out by Unilever, for example, discovered that 53 per cent of UK consumers feel better when they buy sustainable products, highlighting the fact that brands should be doing everything in their power to follow these wishes if they want to hold onto the market and encourage sales. Sustainability is a commitment that consumers appear to value above others – knowing that their product is recyclable and has been made out of materials that won’t pollute the planet further down the line is important. Sustainability extends beyond the product itself, too; packaging and transport methods also play a crucial role that brands are becoming increasingly aware of.

It benefits both brands and their consumers when there is greater awareness of the sustainability efforts they are making. More and more should be done to make these responsibilities known to give consumers a better understanding of how their favourite brands are working to try and protect their future. Understanding how fashion has affected (and continues to affect) the world is a difficult subject – but brands owe it to themselves and their customers to ensure that some of the damage already made is repaired.