ASOS: Proving That Fast Fashion Can Be Ethical And Sustainable

by Simba 8 min read

How ethical is ASOS fashion brand?

The so-called ¨New Normal¨has accelerated the rate at which people are adopting online digital services. Online retail has fast become an excellent opportunity for top fashion brands to connect with an entirely new demographic of digitally native customers as well as attract late adopters of this emerging digital shift.

Long considered one of the more popular online shopping destinations, ASOS has made its mark in UK fashion, supplying over 850 different brands at prices that will give you the best bang for your buck. Given the influences ASOS has had on online fashion retails, it makes sense that as shoppers turn away from merely being fashion-conscious individuals to becoming socially aware citizens, they ask - How ethical and sustainable is ASOS?

Who Is ASOS?

As more consumers turn towards the convenience and affordability of fast fashion, clothing labels scramble to not only to meet the remarkable increase in demand but also to highlight how sustainable and ethical their brand is. Sustainability is not only a key differentiator for fashion brands; consumers increasingly demand that their favourite brands play their part to improve the world. 

The demands of modern consumers, coupled with an already established presence in fashion, make it imperative that ASOS evolve with the times and stay ahead of the curve.

With a tagline that says _Buy What You See On Film And TV, ASOS initially was an acronym for “As Seen On Screen” as the brand exclusively offered imitations of clothing from those platforms. Many years later, with offices in fashion capitals such as Berlin, New York, and Paris, ASOS has since ventured into the distribution of a plethora of well-known brands through order fulfilment centres in 195 countries.

sustainable shopping with ASOS

Why should you be shopping at ASOS?

ASOS and similar large online retailers fit with the times. Shoppers no longer have the freedom to visit their favourite stores and try out the clothes they love. Corona has drastically limited the options available unless you are ASOS. Using technology and offering a great user experience, ASOS has risen to be a viable alternative to the traditional day at the mall. Here are a few highlights of what ASOS can do:

  • Extensive Field Choice

ASOS allows you to browse for various clothing items from different brands in the comfort of your living room. With a range of clothing options to choose from, it lets you leaf through products from your favourite local store to clothing giants abroad.

  • Compare Clothing Cost

Comparative shopping is one of the best benefits of purchasing clothes through ASOS. It enables consumers to surf through a variety of stores and match the prices of products that meet their means.

  • Value For Your Money

Online only deals, free shipping, and items sold at a bargain - you name it, ASOS probably offers it.

  • Unmatched Convenience

Perhaps the greatest of all online shopping advantages, ASOS allows you to shop for the latest trousers, all while comfortably sitting in front of the computer. Effortlessly click and hop from one site to another, beating traffic and waiting in long checkout lines altogether. Couple this with a constant influx of the latest styles, you have a winning formula to stay trendy within budget.

Shopping with ASOS permits you access to all these perks and more. The company vowed to adhere to all policies that will deem them as both ethical and sustainable. Obviously, actions speak louder than words, so we will hold ASOS to its word as we move into the post-pandemic world. As an online store that deals with customers from the world over, ASOS aims to be more than just another fashion and clothing website.

Is ASOS a sustainable brand?

How Ethical And Sustainable Is ASOS?

Although it is quite challenging to pass up on inexpensive, fast fashion, it is often associated with unfair labour practices and negative environmental concerns. As customers nowadays are more likely to support companies that are socially and environmentally responsible, ASOS has taken steps in creating a positive ecological and social impact.

ASOS-Tainable Fashion Brand (pun intended)

Since most folks see the environment as utterly important, the company pledged towards becoming a sustainable fashion brand, helping with fashion’s transition to a more renewable-focused future. Apart from ensuring that their facilities comply with such measures, here are a few of the procedures that ASOS has conformed to towards becoming more sustainable.

  • They have committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by requiring a handful of their sites to use renewables in their fulfilment and distribution process.
  • ASOS has consciously reduced its mailing bags’ density, saving hundreds of tons of plastic per year. Also, they have recycled customer return mailing bags, cutting down on plastic usage by a significant amount.
  • Their Eco Edit program requires the use of recycled or sustainable fibres, complying with various sustainability standards. They even added a responsible filter to their platform, providing their customers with the option to shop sustainably.
  • By increasing the number of products that will identify them as a sustainable fashion brand, ASOS focuses on sourcing sustainable raw materials by making sure that they are obtained from highly renewable sources.
  • The company’s goal of reducing its water, waste, and carbon footprint brought them to collaborate with top brands to limit chemical and pesticide use, avert deforestation and protect biodiversity.

Over time, ASOS has undoubtedly reduced its carbon footprint by using more sustainable fabrics as an alternative. And though there is still more to be done, the company is well on its way towards the distinction as a sustainable fashion brand.

Ethical brands in fast fashion like ASOS

ASOS As An Ethical Fashion Brand

Much like most fast fashion brands, ASOS has amassed an unfavourable ethical rating. Since then, while still having a long way to go, the company has made substantial improvements towards being considered as an ethical fashion brand. Shifting their focus on issues such as living wages and working conditions, they have challenged brands that are less conscious of heeding the call not just of the consumers but of society as well.

Here are some of the steps that ASOS has taken towards improved ethical standards:

  • ASOS has religiously complied with regular monitoring to ensure that guidelines are met and promoting respect towards workers’ rights.
  • The company’s ethical policy encourages businesses to remain transparent against Supplier Ethical Codes as well as Child Labor and Young Worker Protocols. Such steps are not aimed at merely calling firms out. Instead, they were designed to help improve working conditions by guiding companies through specific issues.
  • Recognizing the difficulties in negotiating, ASOS entitles all their workers to a living wage that enables them to meet not only the basic needs of their families but their recreational wants as well.
  • ASOS is one of the first online retailers to place trade union rights at high standards, including excellent health, safety, and environmental practices which ultimately improve the quality of work principles across their global operations.
  • As an ethical fashion brand, the company extends its support to educate erring suppliers, helping manufacturers to transition to ethical working practices.

Before ASOS can consider itself as a truly ethical fashion brand, enhancements on sourcing out raw materials and better working conditions should successfully be carried out. Nonetheless, the measures that this online retail company has done prove that it is heeding the call and making strides to being environmentally and socially ethical.

Can ASOS become a sustainable and ethical brand?


For a company that in the cross-hairs of social activists and often called out on particular moral issues, we at Spendow are fascinated by the progress that ASOS has made. This online retailer company has made significant strides towards a more eco-friendly and principled tomorrow. ASOS is proving that a truly ethical and sustainable organization can still be profitable, and by partnering with an organisation like Spendow that provides brands with authentic ways to become more sustainable and  ethical based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Framework for fashion brands.

We look forward to collaborating closely with ASOS.