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Greenpeace announces the most eco-friendly fashion brands

By Danielle Wightman-Stone

6 Jul 2016

Fashion

Greenpeace has praised Inditex, Benetton and H&M for “leading the industry towards a toxic-free future” in its third Detox Catwalk campaign to eliminate hazardous chemicals by 2020.

The three apparel firms topped the online ranking of 19 fashion and sportswear companies, with Greenpeace stating that they were the only “avant-garde” companies that were on track to clean up their chains as promised by 2020, due to them all having “credible timelines, concrete actions and on-the-ground implementation” in place.

“We applaud H&M, Zara, and Benetton for leading the way and setting a new standard in toxic-free fashion,” said Kirsten Brodde, head of the Detox My Fashion campaign at Greenpeace Germany. “These companies prove that cleaning up the fashion industry is possible – both for large and medium-sized companies.”

At the other end of the ranking, Greenpeace listed Nike, Esprit, Victoria’s Secret and Li-Ning, as “faux pas”, as these are four companies the environmental organisation claims originally made a Detox commitment but are “currently heading in the wrong direction” as they’ve all failed to take individual responsibility for their supply chain´s hazardous chemical pollution.

Nike, Esprit, and Victoria’s Secret criticised in Greenpeace Detox Catwalk ranking

The other 12 brands, including Adidas, Burberry, Levi’s, Primark and Puma, have found themselves in the middle “evolution mode”, as they all have made commitments to detox and Greenpeace can see that progress to implement plans has been made, however, they believe that they need to “evolve faster” to achieve the 2020 Detox goal. With Greenpeace adding that each brand is not 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, Greenpeace added.

“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,” said Brodde.

The Detox My Fashion campaign demands fashion brands to 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. The list 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.

Brodde added: “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.”

Image: Greenpeace - The Detox Catwalk

detox catwalk
Greenpeace