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UK Government failures ‘stopping consumers from achieving big savings on eco-friendly choices’

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Amid all the recent fuss about Black Friday – which in 2023, fell on 24th November – it is worth reflecting on what has been done, or in some cases not been done, to encourage consumers in the UK to make the right buying choices for our planet. 

Unfortunately, according to the assessment of at least one group of campaigners recently, the UK Government has been found wanting in this regard. 

The independent think tank and charity, Green Alliance, has said that the Government’s failure to enhance product standards and consumer rights has been preventing shoppers from unlocking big savings from greener choices. 

How did the think tank come to this conclusion? 

The organisation, which has warned that large amounts of goods purchased on Black Friday will end up in landfill, carried out research into the obstacles that consumers in the UK faced when attempting to shop sustainably. 

Green Alliance said there was an increasing tendency among consumers to seek to buy second-hand items; in setting out this stance, the environmental group referred to GlobalData research showing a 149% rise in the market for resold fashion between 2016 and 2022. 

The think tank also put the microscope on prices on the reselling sites Vinted, Depop, and Reselfridges. It discovered through this process that by turning to such platforms, people can consistently achieve savings of 60% on dresses, 90% on trousers, and 79% on tops, compared to the situation if equivalent new items are purchased. 

As reported by, Green Alliance also researched companies such as Back Market, and found that customers were able to save an average of 28% on the most recent iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, or Google Pixel smartphones if they opted for a refurbished model with a warranty, instead of buying a new device. 

Fast fashion availability ‘means people don’t repair clothes or buy second hand’ 

Some of the organisation’s findings were also likely to be of great interest to many a fashion brand using the services of a luxury digital agency to help power forward its growth. 

The environmental group said that consumers who repaired holes, buttons, zips, and pockets stood to save as much as 61% of the cost of an equivalent new garment. The think tank also warned, however, that the sheer availability of fast fashion can mean people don’t end up actually repairing clothing or buying it second hand. 

That’s a particularly concerning situation for our planet given that, according to the report from, the British public purchases a greater amount of clothing per person than their counterparts in any other European country – and clothing in the UK has the shortest average life. 

“People want to be sustainable in the way they shop” 

Green Alliance said that few of the policies the Government had proposed five years ago to help drive a “circular economy” – such as altering rules for producers to give them targets for reuse – had been delivered. 

The organisation urged the Government to be more proactive in helping people to buy more easily repairable and durable items, through the introduction of new design standards for products and tax breaks for the repair of electrical goods and the purchase of spare parts. 

The group also argued that shoppers would be more confident if warranties were longer – with replacement and repair being covered for three to five years, instead of the average one to two – as well as if there was a broader consumer “right to repair” rule. 

Senior policy analyst at Green Alliance, Heather Plumpton, stated: “People want to be sustainable in the way they shop, increasingly buying second hand and repairing items rather than buying new.

“Yet they are being let down by the UK’s current rules. It shouldn’t cost more to repair a washing machine than to buy a new one. 

“After five years of promises but no action, we need to look again at how to create an economy where repairing goods is easy and we are helped to use fewer resources. The result would be more money in people’s pockets and a cleaner, greener planet.” 

Is your own fashion, lifestyle, or high-end brand on the lookout for the creative, strategic, and ecommerce services that only a leading luxury digital agency can provide, to help your organisation achieve more during 2024? If so, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Skywire London team


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