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Tesco pledges to eliminating harmful chemicals in clothing line

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Supermarket giant Tesco has pledged to detox its textile production and remove hazardous chemicals from the supply chain of its clothing brand F&F as part of its commitment to knowing where its fabrics are produced and that its garments are legal and safe.

Tesco will immediately begin the process of eliminating hazardous substances from its F&F clothing brand, including phthalates, brominated and chlorinated flame retardants, chlorinated solvents and heavy metals, said Greenpeace.

The British supermarket is the latest international brand to commit to the Greenpeace Detox Campaign since it began in 2011. The toxic-free campaign includes companies that represent 15 percent of the worldwide textile production including Marks and Spencer, H&M, Benetton, Levi Strauss, Aldi, Lidl and Tchibo.

Kirsten Brodde, project lead of the Detox Campaign at Greenpeace Germany, said: “The Detox standard is the new industry baseline - in only six years, forerunners of the textile sector went from total denial and opacity of their supply chain to transparency and the banning of all hazardous chemicals. Tesco’s commitment shows the rest of the industry that using hazardous chemicals is not an option anymore.”

“Tesco now has the opportunity to match the progress being made by other retailers and Greenpeace will monitor it closely to ensure they follow up their commitment.”

Tesco commits to detox textile production and remove hazardous chemicals

The commitment by Tesco sees the supermarket pledging to remove chemicals already banned by EU regulations, as well as eliminating those thought to be harmful but not necessarily backed by evidence, and builds upon the supermarkets existing roadmap to phase out hazardous chemicals by 2020.

In addition, Tesco will also start improving the transparency of its supply chain, issuing an updated restricted substances in textiles policy for suppliers to follow, as well as embedding new policies into its manufacturing processes that required new testing programmes and auditing protocols to ensure compliance. This it said has started with a pilot waste water testing programme at our core wet processing units in different regions. Tesco will also start to integrate the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) audit protocols to audit its supply base to assess mills against the new requirements.

Alan Wragg, technical director for clothing at Tesco, said: “Our Responsible Sourcing Team has been working with Greenpeace to align all our textile products with the Detox commitment, starting with clothing and footwear, and we’ve compiled a list of restricted substances to help guide our suppliers.

“This commitment is part of our goal to protect the environment by sourcing products sustainably and responsibly for our customers.”

The Greenpeace Detox campaign calls for members to eliminate chemicals that may harm the environment, even if the type or magnitude of harm is not yet known, as well as to increase transparency about the suppliers they use and commit to eliminate all releases of toxic chemicals by 2020.

Image: courtesy of F&F