The Greenpeace Detox campaign is showing results

News 2018 / July

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The Greenpeace Detox campaign is showing results

The textiles industry is a major user of hazardous chemicals and a well-known polluter of freshwater. For many years, countries that manufacture clothes have witnessed multi-coloured rivers and waterways as a result of discharges from the dyeing and processing of textiles for global clothing brands.

The colourful water hides a very serious problem – toxic chemicals. Some of which are known to cause cancer or disrupt hormonal systems in humans and animals.

This is why Greenpeace launched its campaign Detox My Fashion seven years ago, challenging big clothing brands to take responsibility for environmental impacts of their supply chains and commit to achieve zero discharges of hazardous chemicals by 2020.

Last week Greenpeace Germany launched a report that, for the first time, maps the steps taken by the 80 companies that adhered to the campaign. The report shows that all companies have achieved significant progress and are well on their way in the detox process.

“There has been a major paradigm shift in the clothing industry triggered by the Detox campaign”

“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”, says Bunny McDiarmid, Executive Director of Greenpeace International.

It is time for policy-makers to step in and make Detox a worldwide standard”

The companies committed to the Detox campaign represent 15% of global clothing production. This means that the vast majority is not committed to the cause. Global regulation of toxic chemicals is needed, as well as an industry standard that unifies large brands behind a minimum baseline.

“While we are extremely happy to see the progress of Detox companies towards cleaning up their supply chains, 85% of the textile industry is still not doing enough to eliminate hazardous chemicals and improve factory working conditions. This is unacceptable. It is time for policy-makers to step in and make Detox a worldwide standard”, adds Kirsten Brodde, project leader of the Detox campaign at Greenpeace Germany.

ChemSec made contributions to the report which are featured on pages 42-45.