“Regulation of the fashion supply chains and the sustainability–growth balance”, Emese Dobos and Andrea Éltető (IWE CERS, Hungary)

Purpose: The sustainability of global production chains is at the centre of discussion in the past few years. One of the most polluting sectors is the fashion industry. Fashion brands often decline responsibility, and continue misleading or exaggerated communication. This study aims to provide a comprehensive evaluation of regulation in the fashion industry and show practices of fashion firms.

Design/methodology/approach: Based on documentary analysis and literature review, the article describes current civil, supranational and governmental policies aiming to enhance the three dimensions of sustainability. Connecting these to the high-growth firm theory, the authors present a case study of a rising Hungarian fashion star based on press, sustainability and balance-sheet report analysis and personal interviews.

Findings: The article highlights some problematic areas of sustainability and greenwashing and describes the different levels and targeted areas of regulation. From the entrepreneurial perspective, the difficult balancing among growth and sustainability is analyzed and illustrated by the detailed case study. The authors provide regulatory suggestions (including the creation of a supranational monitoring agency).

Practical implications: Even if the authors doubt that global fashion chains can be sustainable, they offer both managerial and policy suggestions to reach the highest level of sustainability.

Social implications: The suggested measures can contribute to the more sustainable practices and fraud reduction in the fashion industry.

Originality/value: To the best of the authors’ knowledge, the economic-regulatory approach used in this study to sustainable fashion industry is new, such as the presentation of the practices of a high-growth firm with a sustainable image.

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