A new report published by Greenpeace shows that progress is being made by global clothing brands and suppliers when it comes to detoxing from hazardous chemicals.
The report, “Destination Zero – Seven Years of Detoxing the Clothing Industry“, maps for the first time all of the major steps companies have made across all sectors, including fashion, sportswear and luxury retailers, outdoor brands and suppliers.
Greenpeace was one of the first to issue a formal challenge to the fashion industry “to take responsibility for the environmental impacts of their manufacturing supply chains and commit to achieve zero discharges of hazardous chemicals by 2020”. This challenge was taken up by 80 brands. The report compiles their progress, addressing major challenges and mapping out the next steps to achieve a hazardous-free future for fashion.
Major advances covered in the report include:
All Detox-committed brands are tackling the elimination of the 11 priority groups of hazardous chemicals identified by Greenpeace and regularly report on their presence in wastewater from suppliers mills, while a large majority have started adding more substances to their roadmap.
72% of Detox committed brands are working towards disclosing their suppliers lists down to Tier2/Tier3 wet processing, where the biggest use of chemicals and most water pollution occurs. Most advanced brands intend to expand this approach to fibre production, and address the growing use of viscose.
72% report having achieved the complete elimination of per- and polyfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) from products, while the remaining 28% are making good progress towards elimination.
The Greenpeace Detox campaign has changed the chemical management landscape: the industry now focuses on pollution from its supply chain, not just its products; the industry-group Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) has improved their toolkit; NGOs provide hazard assessments and publicise safer alternatives; chemical suppliers are collaborating with Detox companies; and new commercial services have been created, such as OEKO-TEX®’s Detox To Zero audit.
In addition to better industry collaboration, Greenpeace is calling for local and global regulations and for the chemical industry to take more responsibility for developing safer alternatives. Some Detox companies are now supporting the enforcement of due diligence that will make corporations legally responsible for their supply chains, wherever they produce in the world. Detox companies and Greenpeace agree that eliminating hazardous chemicals usage is an essential step to achieve a circular economy for textiles that avoids the endless recirculation of toxics through recycled materials.