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The price of returns is higher than shipping

The price of returns is higher than shipping

An investigation from CBC News last year put hidden trackers into products before returning them to Amazon*

Their journey represents the fate of millions of products bought on a whim, returned to the seller, and then destroyed and landfilled. According to Optoro, an estimated 5 billion pounds of waste is generated from product returns each year in the USA alone.

To be restocked, a returned fashion item must be hand-evaluated for potential damage, and then steamed or dry cleaned before going back to inventory, which in the world of fast-fashion - and at the prices you see here, simply isn't cost-effective.

What can you do? Advice from Fashion Revolution

If you are buying something online, check carefully the size chart and size conversions, and if you have any doubts, contact the brand for sizing advice. Most companies will be happy to provide you with extra information about specific products (is the fabric thin and fluid, or firm and snugging, is the style running a bit small, etc). Also, abandon the practice of buying multiples sizes! The environmental cost of free returns is truly unsustainable.

Where are the boundaries of a shipper's accountability?

While the advice in the last paragraph by Fair Trade Aus is aimed at consumers, what is the shipper's accountability? The widespread bans and condemnation of China's Uyghur cotton - almost certainly picked by slaves; is a good example of how a component of a garment can bring change to an entire supply chain. But as much as some are banning the cotton, many others leave their social responsibility at the Chinese border

Is this also the same for shippers? Is it ok to look the other way when your systems like free returns are creating a pile up at landfill while Amazon collects their fees? Or should Amazon, Australia Post, Sendle and others like them refuse to ship certain unsustainable items or engage in unsustainable practices?  They wouldn't carry drugs or anything illegal so there is one boundary. In cricket terms, that's a 4. I am just wondering were the 6 line is. That's the test.

Amazon and carbon neutrality good, governance not so much

Amazon is making great strides to be a better global citizen, but it needs to do better in terms of the behaviour it perpetrates. Amazon are on course to 100% renewable energy powering operations by 2025; making 50% of all shipments net zero carbon by 2030; using electric delivery vehicles and investing billions in climate funds. 

All of this work is extremely important, particularly given Amazon's reach, but it is that same reach that sits in one of the most powerful positions on earth and which, with a little more corporate responsibility, could mandate different behaviours from their marketplace suppliers.

The information that relates to CBC article was first seen on Fair Trade Australia and noted as a repost from Fashion Revolution. Image: Fashion Revolution

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