Greenpeace has given a luke-warm reception to the latest update on the plans by leading apparel brands for zero discharge of harmful chemicals from their textile supply chains by 2020.
Leading apparel brands such as Nike, adidas, Puma, G-Star, C&A, H&M, Li Ning and now also Levi Strauss have updated the textile industry on their latest progress towards the zero discharge of harmful chemicals from their supply chains by 2020. But details of their progress to date has been criticised by Greenpeace as being too focussed on discharge testing instead of looking more closely at the type of chemicals being used.
In addition to a new ‘Governance Policies and Procedures’ document placed on the ZDHC (zero discharge of hazardous chemicals) web-site, the Group has today given an update on its progress in the last three months, which includes the launch of two benchmark studies in Bangladesh and China to verify whether the eleven classes of hazardous chemicals under scrutiny are present in the wastewater discharge of the brands involved. This pilot involves the collection of wastewater, sludge, and chemical samples from the selected factories for testing in addition to audits at the selected factories. Results will be compiled and published in a report at the end of 2012.
However, Greenpeace said it wasn’t too impressed by the speed of progress so far. In a statement released to Ecotextile News, Martin Hojsik, Head of the Detox Campaign at Greenpeace International said, “Greenpeace continues to support the intentions behind this ZDHC roadmap, but there must be actual progress along this road. After decades of water contamination by the apparel industry, local communities are expecting the new ZDHC Joint Roadmap Group to prioritise the elimination of hazardous chemicals.
“Their latest update reveals continued meetings and studies, but as one year approaches since some of these brands have made individual public commitments to act with urgency, the Joint Roadmap Group has yet to provide detailed timelines to quickly eliminate the worst hazardous chemicals from their global supply chains,” he added.
Hojsik also claimed that ‘responsible substitutes’ were already available for the immediate elimination of APEOs, a chemical, which is used as a detergent and cleaning agent in the dyeing process. “H&M has already recognised the health hazards of using any PFCs (fluorine-based chemicals), and have publicly committed to their full elimination from their global supply chain in 2012,” he added, “Forced to share their water systems with the apparel industry, these are the leadership actions that local communities expect, and Greenpeace will continue to push this group to deliver. This group cannot delay further the promised inventory of chemicals used; a published blacklist of substances, nor only focusing on output discharge testing, rather than on input elimination of all eleven groups of hazardous chemicals.”
Ex ECOTEXTILE News