Greenpeace says China's Li Ning detox offer not over finish line yet

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Press release - 2011-08-25
Beijing – Greenpeace said today an offer by Li Ning, one of China's leading sports clothing companies, to reduce its use of toxic chemicals is insufficient following commitments by some of the world's leading clothing brands to detox their production processes. The Chinese sports company announced it would reduce its use of hazardous chemicals the day before a Greenpeace report on Tuesday showed Li Ning clothes contained hormone-disrupting chemicals.

Li Ning store in China.

"Greenpeace welcomes Li Ning's statement as the first Chinese brand to take up the detox challenge," said Greenpeace Toxics Campaigner Li Yifang. "However, we still need more concrete details from Li Ning about how it will back up its promise to become more 'environmentally friendly.' Li Ning has said it will reduce its use of harmful chemicals, but we are calling for the total elimination of all such chemicals."

Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, Greenpeace activists took a direct approach in getting their message across, holding up "Li Ning, go toxic free!" stickers outside an executive board meeting. They presented a letter to the meeting, which included company founder and former world-class Chinese gymnast Li Ning himself.

During the past few weeks, leading global clothing brands Nike and Puma have publicly committed to eliminate all hazardous chemicals from their supply chains and products by 2020 as a result of Greenpeace's global "Detox" campaign. Greenpeace is now calling on Li Ning to follow their lead in promising to present a public plan within eight weeks on how they will eradicate the use of hazardous chemicals in their supply chains.

Li said it is now time for Li Ning to join Nike and Puma, and meet its customers' desire to free China's waterways of hazardous chemicals. "Li Ning was one of 14 leading brands which our second Dirty Laundry report has found are selling products throughout the world that contain nonylphenol ethoxylates," she said. "These break down into nonylphenol, a toxic chemical which has persistent and hormone-disrupting properties that threaten people and the environment. Li Ning must join Nike and Adidas in cleaning up its act considering its base is in China, the world's factory."

Launched in Beijing on Tuesday, Greenpeace's Dirty Laundry 2 report presented the results of an analysis of clothing and fabric-based shoes sold internationally by major clothing brands. Of the 78 articles tested, 52 were found to contain nonylphenol ethoxylates, chemicals which breaks down into the hormone-disrupting nonylphenol.

Greenpeace's first Dirty Laundry report was released in July. Researched and investigated over a one-year period, it uncovered evidence that two factory complexes supplying major clothing brands are discharging toxic chemicals into China's Yangtze and Pearl River deltas. An estimated 70% of China's rivers and lakes are polluted.

Greenpeace is calling on all brands to remove hazardous chemicals throughout their supply chain to ensure that they do not end up in the rivers of countries where they are produced or in the products themselves.

Media Contacts:

Simon Pollock, International Communications Officer

Mobile: +86 139 1151 5405

Li Yifang, Toxics campaigner

Office: +86 10 6554 6931*169

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