Looks like Victoria’s Secret is finally straightening its halo. Following a Greenpeace investigation that revealed the presence of hormone-disrupting chemicals in the popular underwear, the lingerie retailer has pledged to eliminate all releases of hazardous chemicals throughout its supply chain and products by 2020. Limited Brands, its parent company, is now the 14th global corporation to make a “credible ‘Detox’ commitment, as well as the first to provie an “explicit process” that will ensure the total elimination of phthalates, a group of endocrine-disrupting substances linked to birth defects, genital and reproductive abnormalities, and—somewhat ironically—early breast development in girls.
Victoria’s Secret is an old hand at fielding accusations over its use of toxic chemicals. In 2003, the brand was strongarmed into removing carcinogenic substances from its beauty products. Five years later, it faced a slew of lawsuits from women who claimed they developed severe rashes and scarring after wearing bras contaminated with formaldehyde. After Greenpeace published its findings, however, rumors abounded that leading Victoria’s Secret “Angel” Miranda Kerr, who considers herself an “eco-warrior,” was reconsidering her relationship with the lingerie company, a move that might have spurred other high-profile models to hang up their wings, as well.
Rumors abounded that leading Victoria’s Secret “Angel” Miranda Kerr was considering retiring her wings.
Limited Brands, which also owns La Senza, a Canadian intimate-apparel line, will kick off its commitment by disclosing discharge data from 80 percent of its worldwide supply chain by the end of 2013, according to the environmental nonprofit. The corporation has also committed to a complete ban of perfluorinated chemicals, a class of industrial chemicals used primarily to repel water and oil in outerwear, by July 2015.
“Limited Brands has the chance to move from toxic villain to ‘Detox angel’ with its commitment to completely eliminate all hazardous chemicals from its supply chains and products,” says Marietta Harjono, Detox campaigner at Greenpeace International. “The onus is now on the company to follow up on its ambitious statement and quickly turn words into action.”