Wayne Hemmingway

Wayne Hemmingway

The RSPCA is calling on welfare-conscious fashion companies around the UK to enter this year’s RSPCA Good Business Awards, which recognise ethical business approaches to animal welfare.

The RSPCA Good Business Awards fashion category, in association with Drapers, is looking to reward fashion retailers that can demonstrate excellent policies with regards to fur, leather skins and merino wool.

David Bowles, RSPCA head of external affairs, says: "UK consumers continue to be concerned about animal welfare when buying products.  Customers need to be sure the fur they are buying is definitely fake, and the animal whose skin was used to make their leather handbag was kept, transported and slaughtered humanely.

"This is the sixth year of the Good Business Awards and we want to reward the efforts being made by fashion companies - both large and small - that go the extra mile to promote animal welfare and recognise that consumers haven’t left behind their ethical beliefs in a quest for value."

Last year’s winners for achieving higher standards of animal welfare were: Neon Collective in the small retailer category, George at Asda in the large retailer category and Marks & Spencer for demonstrating an ongoing commitment to change.

One of the judges1, designer Wayne Hemingway, says: "The pervading consumer attitude tells us it’s no longer acceptable to sell goods without proving their provenance, as shoppers continue to be concerned about the origin of the items they purchase and the production process behind them. 

"There is a real need for the fashion industry to shape up, shun fur and focus on policies regarding the sourcing of their products."

All entries for the 2010 awards will be judged by an independent panel of industry experts. Winners will be promoted on the RSPCA Good Business Awards website and achievements will be detailed in an ethical consumer guide to choosing higher welfare companies.

Entrants this year will be judged on the basis of their practices in the following areas:

- Commitment to not using or selling Karakul lambskin pelts
- Fur-free policies
- Policies against the use and sale of exotic skins
- Policies on the sourcing of merino wool, cashmere and angora
- Sourcing and traceability of leather including cow, sheep or pig hide
- Innovation over the past 12 months in relation to animal welfare
- Company aspirations regarding animal welfare
- Labelling and communicating policies to customers

Entry forms and guidelines can be downloaded from www.rspcagoodbusinessawards.com or by contacting the RSPCA Good Business Awards team on 0300 123 0488 or [email protected] The entry deadline is Wednesday 30th June 2010.