Fast fashion critics have called for more industry regulation after Shein and other retailers have been using planes to deliver their products, often at great environmental cost.
According to the data from the CarbonCare emission calculator, a cargo plane used by Shein carries 100 tonnes of cargo, producing around 443 tonnes of CO2 to go from China to the UK.
Shein sends individual parcels to the UK via air as a way to dodge import duty at the border, with most orders costing less than a £135 threshold, as opposed to holding stock in UK warehouses.
“Shein is not looking at any of the implications of what they do from sourcing to the waste they create. It is short-termism taken to the nth degree,” Professor Dilys Williams, director of the centre for sustainable fashion at the London College of Fashion, told the Sunday Times.
Shein is not the only retailer to use polluting methods to transport their goods.
After huge hikes in freight costs and shipping delays last year, Asos admitted it had used more planes to fly in clothes to warehouses, while Zara’s owner Indetex is the largest user of air freight for deliveries.
“The industry is out of control,” MP Claudia Webbe told the outlet. “Regulation is not in the UK government’s DNA but it has to happen because this can’t go on, it’s completely unsustainable.”
Fashion firms are increasingly being scrutinised over their environmental and ethical credentials by customers and investors.
Data published by the Carbon Literacy Project reported that fashion surpassed air travel as the world’s second highest polluter, accounting for 10 per cent of total emissions.
According to The Sunday Times’ report, Westminster has been hesitant to enforce tougher regulation on the sector as it hopes to stimulate trade with nations outside Europe.
The EU has proposed tougher measures over the durability of textiles sold in the bloc while New York policymakers are also mulling stricter transparency rules for large fashion firms.