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Greenpeace presents latest Detox catwalk

By Simone Preuss


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Greenpeace East Asia has released its latest Detox catwalk, a report that assesses how effective fashion brands really are in removing toxic chemicals from their supply chains and tackling water pollution. The catwalk divides them into three groups : Detox leaders, greenwashers and Detox losers.

Sportswear giant Adidas cleaned up its act and moved from "greenwasher" to "detox leader" after developing a scheme together with Greenpeace to phase out 99 percent of all polyflourinated chemicals (PFCs) by 2017, and 100 percent by 2020. The company has also agreed to deliver “full transparency” on their global supply chain of hazardous chemicals use by releasing data to the public from 80 percent of its supply chain by mid 2016, building up to 100 percent by 2020.

18 fashion companies are Detox leaders

Fast fashion giants H&M, Inditex, Fast Retailing and Primark lead by example as detox leaders; the other companies in their group are Benetton, Burberry, C&A, Esprit, G-Star Raw, Levi's, Limited Brands, Mango, Marks & Spencer, Puma and Valentino.

“The fashion companies that have committed to Detox over the past four years represent approximately 10 percent of the global apparel and footwear market,” said Detox campaigner at Greenpeace East Asia, Yixiu Wu. “We believe this momentum is creating a new standard in sustainable fashion and sparking a transparency revolution and proving that zero discharge of hazardous chemicals is within our reach by 2020.”

Sportswear giants Nike and Li Ning retain their position as "greenwashers", sticking to their strategy of "masking ineffective actions with paper promises and weak commitments”. “It’s time greenwashers like Nike and Li Ning come clean and join the wave for toxic free fashion,” commented Wu.

Eleven companies have been declared Detox losers according to the updated Detox catwalk, among them many luxury brands: Giorgio Armani, Bestseller, Diesel, Dolce & Gabbana, Gap, Hermes, LVMH, Metersbonwe, PVH, Vancl and Versace. According to Greenpeace, Detox losers are “uncommitted toxic addicts” that have yet to make a credible detox commitment.

Visitors to the interactive website can trace each company on the catwalk and see information about it (brands owned, country of origin and net profit) but also its statement regarding corporate social responsibility and whether it has followed through with its promises.

Since its inception in 2012, the four-year Detox campaign has made strides in the way companies are working with their suppliers and a shift is happening with regards to chemical regulations in manufacturing countries. In China, for example, where the textile industry is responsible for 10 percent of the country's industrial wastewater emissions, harmful chemicals such as PFCs, nonylphenols and phthalates will start being regulated, following their inclusion in the 12th Five-Year Plan for the Prevention and Control of Environmental Risk of Chemicals.

In Indonesia, NPEs will be regulated and monitored with their addition to a list of hazardous and toxic materials and in the European Union, harmful chemical groups, including phthalates, PFCs and NPEs, are being added to a list of chemicals that the EU hopes to phase out and replace with substitutes.