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Retailers cut chemicals under Greenpeace campaign

A total of 80 companies, including Marks & Spencer, H&M, Burberry and Primark, have made significant progress towards cutting hazardous chemicals from their clothing production by 2020, a new report from Greenpeace shows, but it highlights that more must be done across the fashion industry.

The group of companies signed up to Greenpeace’s Detox campaign span fashion, sportswear, luxury, retail and outdoor brands, as well suppliers, which together represent 15% of global clothing production.

The organisation is urging more companies to sign up to the pledge to eliminate the use of hazardous chemicals, as an “essential step” in achieving a circular economy for textiles.

Under the campaign, which was launched seven years ago, 72% of the companies have completely eliminated per- and polyfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) from products, while the remaining 28% are making good progress towards elimination.

All of the Detox-committed brands are tackling the 11 priority groups of hazardous chemicals identified by Greenpeace, and regularly report on their presence in waste water from supplier mills.

“While we are extremely happy to see the progress of Detox companies towards cleaning up their supply chains, 85% of the textile industry is still not doing enough to eliminate hazardous chemicals and improve factory working conditions,” said Kirsten Brodde, Greenpeace Germany project lead of the Detox-my-Fashion campaign. “This is unacceptable. It is time for policy-makers to step in and make Detox a worldwide standard.”

The organisation said the campaign has changed the landscape of chemical management, and the industry is now focused on pollution from its supply chain rather than just its products.

It is now calling for better industry collaboration, local and global regulations and for the chemical industry to take more responsibility for developing safer alternatives.

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