BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 11 July '16

Nike, Esprit, Victoria’s Secret and Li-Ning fail toxic-free fashion ranking

Greenpeace International has released Detox Catwalk, which assesses how effectively 19 major fashion brands are cleaning toxic chemicals from their supply chains.

Toxic-free fashion

Inditex (which owns Zara), H&M and Benetton are the only three ‘Avant-Garde’ companies on track to clean up their chains as promised by 2020, while Victoria’s Secret and Esprit plus sports brands Nike and Li-Ning are failing to take the necessary steps towards that goal.

‘We applaud H&M, Zara and Benetton for leading the way and setting a new standard in toxic-free fashion. These companies prove that cleaning up the fashion industry is possible – both for large and medium-sized companies.’

KIRSTEN BRODDE
Head of the Detox My Fashion campaign at Greenpeace Germany

Lowest and middle categories

The Detox Catwalk assesses how committed companies have performed against key criteria, including eliminating known hazardous chemicals from their products and manufacturing processes, disclosing pollution information and publishing suppliers’ lists.

While Victoria’s Secret, Esprit, Nike and Li-Ning scored in the lowest ‘Faux Pas’ category, another 12 Detox-committed brands find themselves in the middle ‘Evolution Mode’ category. 

These include adidas, Burberry, Levi’s, Primark and Puma. According to Greenpeace, these brands aren’t banning enough hazardous chemicals and rely on the flawed chemical list from the industry group Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC). This list is missing important substances like PFCs and solvents like Dimethylformamide (DMF).

Companies like C&A, Fast Retailing, G-Star, Mango, and Miroglio score higher within the same ‘Evolution Mode’ group, either for better chemicals management or greater supply chain transparency.

‘Our assessment shows that the textile industry as a whole is not doing enough to go toxic-free. 16 out of the 19 brands assessed are stumbling over transparency issues or failing to eliminate toxic chemicals; with only three years left they must speed up now if they’re to meet their 2020 deadlines.’

KIRSTEN BRODDE
Head of the Detox My Fashion campaign at Greenpeace Germany

The Detox campaign

The Greenpeace Detox campaign demands fashion brands commit to zero discharge of all hazardous chemicals by 2020 and requires their suppliers to disclose the releases of toxic chemicals from their facilities to communities at the site of the water pollution.

‘A major step forward this year is that committed companies are truly lifting the veil on their supply chains. Companies are publishing complete suppliers’ lists, which shows a trend for long-term relationships with suppliers networks, built on mutual trust.  That is crucial for implementing the Detox programme.’

KIRSTEN BRODDE
Head of the Detox My Fashion campaign at Greenpeace Germany

Tackling water pollution is getting increasingly urgent, especially in textile production countries such as China where more than 80% of underground water is unsafe for drinking.

Four-fifths of China’s water from wells is not safe because of pollution, according to an analysis published by the Chinese Water Resources Ministry this year. China’s textile industry is one of the largest industrial water polluters in the country.

The corporate action has sparked policy change in manufacturing countries such as China, where harmful chemicals used in the textile sector such as PFCs, nonylphenols and phthalates have been included for regulation on the 12th Five-Year Plan for the Prevention and Control of Environmental Risk of Chemicals.

Click here to see the full ranking of companies in Greenpeace’s Detox Catwalk.