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BRC announces new vegan guidelines

The British Retail Consortium has set out new guidelines to ensure vegan fashion products are 100% cruelty-free. 

Under the guidelines, retailers should not claim a product is sustainable simply because it is “vegan”. Additionally, a “vegan” label should only be used for products providing an alternative to something that is usually made with animal-derived materials or ingredients. 

Businesses are advised to examine every material used in a product including the ingredients of glues, dyes and waxes, says BRC sustainability policy adviser Leah Riley Brown: “Veganism is not just growing in food but in fashion too, as consumers look for products that cater to both their diets and their beliefs. Classing a product as vegan means not just ruling out the use of leather and wool but also many glues, dyes, and other animal-derived materials.

“To help tackle these challenges, the BRC and its members have published the Voluntary Guideline on Veganism in Fashion with the aim of providing consumers with the level of assurance that any vegan product can be purchased with confidence.”

The guidance provides a matrix for retailers when working towards creating vegan products, and a directory of non-vegan products.

A spokesman from Missguided told Drapers: “We’ve seen interest in vegan fashion rise dramatically and are actively looking at including many more vegan items in our range. This is why we are supporting the BRC’s Voluntary Guideline on Veganism in Fashion, because we believe our customers should have the utmost confidence in what they purchase.”

Monique Leeuwenburgh, head of product development for Marks & Spencer clothing and home, said: “At M&S, we’re constantly listening to feedback from our customers to respond to growing trends. After seeing increasing demand from customers for vegan alternatives last year, we worked with our suppliers to ensure our synthetic footwear and accessories were 100% vegan-friendly and designed to our great quality standards. We’re continuing to see strong customer demand this year with our best-selling handbag being the vegan-friendly Soft Buckle Tote.”

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