Detoxing Fashion: Greenpeace’s Investigation Pressures Global Clothing Retailers to Clean Up their Supply Chains

greenpeace detox fashion activist

I’ve read numerous predictions about the future of the fashion industry for this year, but one seemed to stand out to me more than the others – thirteen global clothing retailers will begin ‘detoxing’ their garment supply chains and promise to be toxic-free by 2020.

This turnaround came about after Greenpeace International’s latest report, “Toxic Threads: Under Wraps,” revealed that well-known fashion brands – Levi’s, Zara, Esprit and several others – were producing clothing containing hazardous chemicals and contaminating public water sources.

While the clean-up processes will vary in each company, Levi’s and Zara have committed to disclosing pollution data from their suppliers’ facilities in the global South, including those in China and Mexico, by the end of this year. People living near these locations can then learn how to better protect themselves from toxins, some of which have been linked to causing adverse effects to the kidneys, liver and central nervous system, among other health-related problems.

Furthermore, waste water from staining, dyeing and other manufacturing processes have been responsible for harming the environment and plant and animal life beyond repair.

“People Power” at Work

Since Greenpeace released their first campaign, “Dirty Laundry” in 2011, they along with a half of a million of supporters have successfully pressured big brands like Adidas, Nike and Puma to commit to phasing out all toxins from all of their product lifecycles. You can view the complete Detox timeline here.

Although these pledges are great first steps towards the long-term goal of having all of our clothing made completely toxic-free, there is still more work to do. You can join us in continuing to demand more big brands to detox by signing the “Detox Fashion Manifesto” petition, sharing videos, and being a part of the conversation on social media.

You also may consider buying from trusted retailers selling clothing made by all-natural and sustainable methods and if possible, buy second-hand.

As the year continues on, we all will be watching to see if the fashion industry honors their commitments to clean-up their acts and, in turn, teach us all to further value the environment as well as the season’s latest trends.

Image credit: photo credit: helvildt via photopin cc

  1. Diane C

    Bravo for mentioning second hand stores. That’s my first stop when shopping. I’ve even latched on to some that were donated with the tags still on them. We waste so much.

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