Greenpeace Publishes First Report on Detoxing Clothing Industry Campaign

Eighty companies in the fashion industry have committed to the campaign.

Greenpeace Germany has released its “Destination Zero: Seven Years of Detoxing the Clothing Industry” report, detailing the progress 80 fashion companies have made in their commitment to reduce their use of hazardous chemicals by 2020.

In the first report since the Detox campaign began in 2011, Greenpeace outlines the steps taken by companies across fashion, sportswear, luxury, retail, outdoor brands and supplies, which collectively represent 15 percent of global clothing production. Some of the companies committed to the pledge include Adidas, Burberry, Fast Retailing, Nike, Puma, H&M, Primark, Valentino and Inditex.

Some of the benchmarks detailed in the report include: a commitment by all brands to eliminate 11 priority groups of hazardous chemicals and regularly report on their presence in wastewater from supply mills; 72 percent of brands are working toward disclosing their supplier lists in regard to Tier 2/Tier 3 wet processing, which yields the most water pollution; 72 percent of brands have completely eliminated per- and polyfluorinated chemicals from products.

“We have made great progress in phasing out hazardous chemicals that pollute our waterways and environment — there has been a major paradigm shift in the clothing industry triggered by the Detox campaign, which now takes responsibility for their production instead of just their products,” said Bunny McDiarmid, executive director of Greenpeace International.

To that end, the Detox campaign has worked to shift the industry focus from pollution in the supply chain and not just in the products. Industry group Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) has improved its guidances; chemical suppliers are collaborating with Detox companies; and new commercial services have been created, such as OEKO-TEX’s Detox To Zero audit.

As part of the campaign’s ongoing mission, Greenpeace is lobbying for local and global regulations, and putting the onus on the chemical industry to develop safe alternatives to hazardous materials. Some Detox companies are now supporting the enforcement of due diligence that will make corporations legally responsible for their supply chains. There is still much progress to be made. “While we are extremely happy to see the progress of Detox companies towards cleaning up their supply chains, 85 percent of the textile industry is still not doing enough to eliminate hazardous chemicals and improve factory working conditions,” said Kirsten Brodde, Greenpeace Germany project lead of the Detox-my-Fashion campaign. “This is unacceptable. It is time for policymakers to step in and make Detox a worldwide standard.”

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