Sometimes the longest struggles can be the most rewarding.
Today -- after ten months of #PeoplePowered activities and behind-the-scenes haggling -- G-Star has 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 a credible Detox commitment in 2013, making it the 15th global corporation to make clear its plans to banish toxic chemicals from the fashion sector.
The announcement is all the sweeter if you consider that just weeks ago the brand was unwilling to improve upon its earlier – March 2012 - rather half-hearted “commitment”. This old offer lacked many of the elements that their new Detox commitment contains: namely, concrete dates for eliminating the worst chemicals, and a transparent process for how the brand will move from its current polluting practices toward toxic-free fashion.
Better yet, G-Star have also committed provide case studies in the coming 8 weeks documenting how it has already been able to remove a number of hazardous chemicals from its supply chain and products. They will provide valuable lessons for policy makers and other stakeholders in the sector, and show that the substitution and elimination of toxic, hormone-disrupting and cancer-causing chemicals is possible. Establishing a clear precedent for G-Star and other brands to create more case studies in the future.
Catching the Greenwashers
For too long the fashion industry has been unscrupulously polluting waterways around the world with hazardous chemicals used to print, dye and wash our clothes. But equally alarming, a number of brands had previously created commitments that were so full of loopholes and vague definitions and so devoid of real action plans that they weren’t worth the paper they were written on, masquerading as part of the solution while continuing to be part of the problem.
G-Star was one such brand. Levi’s was another.
Now, both companies have credible, ambitious and industry-leading commitments [Link to the G-Star commitment] and action-plans for helping to drive the final nails in the coffin of toxic textiles. Both of these brands moved from greenwashers to potential Detox heroes thanks to the actions of hundreds of thousands of ‘fashionistas’, activists and concerned consumers around the world.
Join the movement
Fifteen global corporations have committed to Detox, but 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.
Please help share our video "Detox Fashion" and raise awareness for the need for more Detox champions – let’s bring an end to the era of toxic villains and greenwashers.
Fashion needn’t cost the earth. Join us in demanding a toxic-free future.
Ilze Smit is a Toxic Campaigner at Greenpeace Netherlands