Greenpeace International stepped in to clean up the production line of yet another clothing giant: Levi Strauss & Co. Thanks to their advocacy, the voices of Care2 members who signed this petition, and hundreds of thousands of people taking the issue to the street, Greenpeace is now pleased to announce that Levi Strauss & Co. will stop using the chemicals that cause toxic water pollution.
Levi’s is setting a great example for other companies targeted by Greenpeace’s Detox campaign, which aims to make big brand clothing toxin-free by 2020. As early as the end of June 2013, Levi’s will begin requiring disclosure of pollution data from its largest suppliers in China, Mexico and elsewhere in the Global South while completely eliminating hazardous chemicals by providing non-hazardous alternatives.
They outlined their full commitment here, noting that they plan to take move a step beyond their own facilities:
Levi Strauss & Co. also commits to support systemic (i.e. wider societal and policy) change to achieve zero discharge of hazardous chemicals (associated with supply chains and the lifecycles of products) within one generation or less. Thus, our commitment includes investment in moving industry, government, science and technology to deliver on that systemic change.
This is a drastic and welcome change from the company’s previous response, which was to merely seek out new methods to control the toxins used in clothing production. It’s not just the consumers who need to be concerned, though. The greatest threat was to the workers who inhaled and handled the toxins on a daily basis. The factories are a public health concern as well – waste-water discharge affects everyone living near these industrial facilities.
What’s still in store
Many of the large brands called on to change their production methods have not responded in kind. We need to keep pushing for brands like Calvin Klein, GAP, and Victoria’s Secret to get on board. Hopefully the rest of the targeted brands will take note from Levi’s and other brands, such as Zara, Esprit, and Mango, holding themselves accountable for their clothing’s pollution.
Congratulations on this accomplishment, Care2!