As sustainability rises to the top of consumer concerns, ethical fashion choices could see businesses like Zara, H&M and Primark facing steep revenue declines.
A forecast by Swiss bank UBS says the high volume and cheap approach may fall out of sync with customers who are increasingly more environmentally aware and see the negative impact of the industry. In a report released on Monday UBS said fast fashion retailers could see profits fall 10 to 30 percent over the next five to ten years.
“The compounding effect of consumers buying fewer items but also shifting the purchases they do continue to make to items that they perceive to be more sustainable could be severe,” UBS Analyst Victoria Kalb and team said.
“Whether the garment is conventionally produced with a significant environmental footprint, the cotton used in a t-shirt is organic, the polyester in a fleece is recycled, or the garment or shoe is vegan (which, incidentally, often means plastic) becomes largely insignificant when set against the sheer quantity of items produced and discarded,” said UBS.