This was originally posted on Greenpeace International on January 22, 2013.
Limited Brands – owner of iconic underwear labels Victoria’s Secret and La Senza – has bowed to public pressure and committed to eliminate all hazardous chemicals from its supply chain and products by 2020.
That makes it three brands in three weeks, in January 2013, for global #peoplepower, with this news coming hot on the heels of similarly ambitious commitments from Japanese clothing giant Uniqlo and Italian stalwart Benetton. Limited Brands is now the 14th international retailer to commit to Detox since the campaign launch in July 2011.
Over the past month, activists have been out in force calling on Victoria’s Secret to make garments its customers and ‘ambassadors’ can be proud to wear: adding their voices to the hundreds of thousands of people who have already joined the Detox campaign online.
A Greenpeace investigation released late last year revealed the presence of a hormone-disrupting phthalate in an item of Victoria’s Secret underwear at levels that would have led to the product being banned in the EU had it been a toy.
Today’s commitment is Limited Brands’ first important step to tackle this issue, and includes an explicit process to ensure the total elimination of both phthalates and perfluorinated chemicals (another hormone-disrupting chemical group of high concern) long before the 2020 deadline.
2013 will also see it release pollution data from 80% of its global supply chain, further accelerating the transparency revolution that is taking place in the sector due to the Detox campaign, and providing those people living near manufacturing facilities with information about what is being discharged into their local water supplies.
Ending a toxic addiction
Thanks to the passionate support of concerned consumers, activists and fashionistas it seems as though 2013 will finally be the year when the textile industry begins to end its addiction to toxic chemicals.
For brands like Victoria’s Secret, the next big step will be turning their words into actions that are as high-profile and bold as their infamous fashion shows.
For brands that have so far tried to bury their head in the sands and ignore the issue will need to up their game, or risk losing out to more savvy competitors.
Tommy Crawford is the Detox Campaign Strategic Communications Manager. You can follow him on twitter: @theecowarrior.