UPDATE February 1st: G-Star has committed to Detox! Read more here.
Zara. Levi’s. Benetton. Uniqlo. Victoria’s Secret. Mango. Esprit. Marks & Spencer. H&M. Li Ning. C&A. Puma. Adidas. Nike. Fourteen of the world’s top international fashion brands – and they’ve all committed to clean up and Detox.
Eight of these major fashion brands have made commitments in less than the past 90 days and all 14 of them with a credible Detox Commitment..They ‘ve all listened to the voices of hundreds of thousand of people globally expressing their wish to have fashion without pollution.
But there is one growing Dutch brand that is trying to hide among them, masquerading as a Detox leader.
This company is G-Star. But G-Star, what is your true face?
G-Star is often presented as the flagship of the Dutch fashion industry. G-Star is experimenting with organic cotton, sustainable hemp and nettle fibres and is attempting to recycle worn denim.
G-Star's public position on hazardous chemical use on its website mentions familiar phrases such as ‘zero discharge of hazardous chemicals by 2020’, and in January 2012 the company joined yet another industry group working on the issue.
This all looks and sounds nice, but the reality is that joining yet another industry group is not the full answer to the problem. Otherwise, hazardous chemical discharges across the global textile/leather apparel/footwear industry would have been eliminated decades ago.
Instead, the use of hazardous chemicals has only carried on in recent decades and effectively resolving toxic water pollution due to the manufacture of clothes requires reluctant brands, like G-Star, to take real individual corporate responsibility of its role in this problem.
The public position stated by the company is full of loopholes. It does not include a concrete timeline for the elimination of the worst chemicals and, unlike other brands, G- Star refuses to start an effective process to disclose pollution data with the suppliers that make its clothes. This denies communities around the factories the information they should have about how their waterways are being polluted.
Since June 2011, Greenpeace has continually tried to enter a productive dialogue with G- Star, to come to a responsible, ambitious and credible agreement.
But G-Star refused Greenpeace's multiple invitations to discuss and resolve this issue, choosing instead to hope that a few public words would be enough.
If G-Star really wants to be part of an effective resolution to its global hazardous chemical use it must now act responsibly with a credible Detox Commitment and show publicly that they are doing this.
On Wednesday 23 January, on the opening event of the Amsterdam Fashion Week, Greenpeace Netherlands directly addressed Jos van Tilburg, the founder and CEO of G-star.
He is the real decision maker, the man with the power to change things for the better. Since his brand has become a global player, he is in a position to be a real Detox leader.
But first, he has to stop masquerading.
Please join us in calling on G-Star and CEO Van Tilburg to make a credible commitment and to become the real Detox leader the company's customers and staff can be proud of. Leave a message on their Facebook page and ask them to Detox!
G-Star, it really is time to show your true face.
Pavel Klinckhamers is the co-ordinator of the toxics campaign at Greenpeace Netherlands