Why Are Fashion Brands Committing to Detoxing in 2020 and Not Earlier?

by , 02/13/13   filed under: Ask a Designer, Features

Greenpeace, Detox, toxic chemicals, toxic pollution, Marietta Harjono, Zara, Levi Strauss, Adidas, Nike, Uniqlo, Benetton, Victoria's Secret, Valentino, Fashion Duel, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, Ask a Designer

Sometimes the longest struggles can be the most rewarding. After 10 months of #PeoplePowered activities and behind-the-scenes haggling, G-Star Raw finally committed to eliminate all uses of hazardous chemicals from its supply chain and products by 2020. This means that the Dutch denim brand joins the likes of Uniqlo, Benetton. and Victoria’s Secret in making credible “Detox” commitments in 2013. And with the Italian high-fashion brand Valentino joining the leaders in the industry this past week, there are currently 16 big brands that have started a process to eliminate all discharges of hazardous chemicals throughout their supply chains and products.

Greenpeace, Detox, toxic chemicals, toxic pollution, Marietta Harjono, Zara, Levi Strauss, Adidas, Nike, Uniqlo, Benetton, Victoria's Secret, Valentino, Fashion Duel, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, Ask a Designer

DETOX TIMELINE

Some people might wonder, why is the companies’ deadline 2020? Greenpeace is an organization that pushes for actions. We want to see solutions happening yesterday rather than waiting for tomorrow.

So, why the generous deadline?

The elimination of all hazardous chemical discharge of this scale and complexity has never been attempted before.

The elimination of all hazardous chemical discharge across a global sector of this scale and complexity has never been attempted before. We’re not just talking about managing hazardous chemicals or reducing their use to “safe” levels. We’re talking about brands taking responsibility for their products and for their entire supply chain, ensuring that both consumers and the people living where these clothes are made know what’s being pumped into their water and garments—and ensuring there’s not even a chance of these chemicals causing harm to planet or people.

On the flip side, seven years is still seven years during which toxic water pollution impacts the lives of millions of people worldwide. In other words, we cannot wait so many years to see things movie.

And we won’t.

Brands will report on how they substituted hazardous chemicals with safer alternative. Look, for example, at the short elimination timelines of certain hazardous chemical groups, such as alkylphenol ethoxylates, phthalates, and perfluorinated compounds.

Greenpeace, Detox, toxic chemicals, toxic pollution, Marietta Harjono, Zara, Levi Strauss, Adidas, Nike, Uniqlo, Benetton, Victoria's Secret, Valentino, Fashion Duel, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, Ask a Designer

CHANGING TIDE

The murky world of fashion is slowly becoming more transparent. Already, several hundred facilities in the Global South will be requested by brands to disclose pollution discharge data before the end of this year. They’ll be using online platforms that provide easy access to pollution information, in a language and format easily understandable in manufacturing countries.

This is our water, we have a right to know what is in it.

This is our water, we have a right to know what is in it.

We also expect lawmakers to step up their game. In order to steer real and irreversible changes, they play a crucial role to both push the greenwashers within the textile sector to act and also set the standard for other polluting industries, such as paper, automotive, and electronics.

Our work is far from done. Many other brands including Gap, Calvin Klein, and Jack Wolfskin have so far failed to take real action to stop polluting our precious water supplies with hazardous chemicals.

Join fashionistas, activists, designers and bloggers who have joined our call and signed up to our Detox Manifesto so that together we ensure that the toxic tide turns for good.

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