This post originally appeared on Greenpeace International, October 24, 2012.
Encouraging a fashion behemoth to change the way it produces clothing is no small task. But armed with the facts and the collective power of supporters like you, we are able to achieve the sort of success story we are announcing today.
Today, British clothing giant, Marks & Spencer, has committed to eliminate all releases of hazardous chemicals throughout their entire supply chain and products by 2020.
M&S Joins H&M in setting the pace
As part of its commitment M&S has taken an important step to phase out all perfluorocarbons (PFCs) by no later than July 1st 2016, acknowledging that the entire chemical group – which makes clothing stain and water resistant – is hazardous. As a significant user of PFCs, Marks and Spencer’s move to eliminate this entire chemical group sends a clear message to the whole industry, including the chemical companies, that it’s time to phase out this group of chemicals.
Aside from the ban on PFCs, M&S has also reinforced a ban on APEOs (a family of chemicals, some of which are banned in the EU), and has pledged to set timelines to eliminate other priority hazardous chemicals.
In addition to this, the company has promised to become more transparent about what its suppliers are dumping into our water and will start by releasing discharge data from five of their Chinese suppliers. This is an important pilot that they should look to expand to all facilities in the near future, as both the people living near the factories and the brands’ consumers have a right-to-know what is being released into their water.
M&S is now the seventh brand to make a credible commitment to clean up its supply chain and products and eliminate all releases of hazardous chemicals, joining Puma, Nike, Adidas, H&M, C&A and Li-Ning. More brands need to respond to the urgency of the situation and take ambitious action to rid the fashion world and our precious water supplies of toxic chemicals.
The black list of 11 hazardous chemical groups that we ask brands to eliminate first is just the beginning. Work needs to be done checking all chemicals used in textile manufacturing, identifying hazardous ones and substituting them with safer alternatives, so their releases into the environment stop. This is a big task even with a deadline of 2020.
We need action now. The textile industry is poisoning waterways around the world with hazardous, persistent and hormone-disrupting chemicals and treating our public waterways like private sewers. M&S has now shown other brands how quickly big brands can actually act. Let’s demand brands to stop stalling and take the Detox Challenge!
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