The Environmental Audit Committee in the United Kingdom has called on five leading online-only fashion retailers to offer evidence as part of its inquiry into sustainability of the fashion industry. In letters written to Amazon, Asos, Boohoo, PrettyLittleThing and Misguided, the committee chair asked some of them to give evidence in parliament.

The committee has asked for information on areas including staff wages, garment life-cycle and steps to reduce environmental and social impact of their businesses, according to information posted on the British parliament website.

According to committee chair Mary Creagh, low-quality £5 dresses aimed at young people are said to be made by workers on low wages and are discarded almost instantly, causing mountains of non-recycled waste to pile up. “We want to know that they are fully compliant with employment law, that garments have a decent life-span, and that profit is not put before environmental damage. I look forward to the responses,” she said.

On October 30, the committee heard evidence that the buying practices of some online fashion retailers may be putting British clothing manufacturers in a position where they can only afford to pay garment workers illegally low wages.