One of the largest clothing retailers in the world recently agreed to protect rivers and streams around the world by discontinuing the use of toxic chemicals throughout its supply chain.
H&M, a purveyor of fashionable-yet-affordable garments in some of the biggest cities in the world, recently agreed to eliminate the use of hazardous chemicals from all production processes associated with its products by 2020.
The announcement came after a well-orchestrated campaign by Greenpeace International during which activists in 12 countries spent a week sticking huge “Detox our future!” and “Detox our water!” stickers on the shop windows of H&M stores. The sticker campaign was accompanied by a Twitter petition that reached approximately 635,000 people.
According to Greenpeace research, “H&M has links to factories discharging a range of hazardous chemicals into China’s rivers, and that clothing — including kids clothing — sold by H&M, contain nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) that break down into the toxicnonylphenol (NP). These chemicals are a cause for serious concern, as they are known hormone disruptors and can be hazardous even at very low levels.”
On its website, H&M acknowledges its global obligation to take responsibility for the actions of those who make its clothes.
“As a leading actor with a well reputed Chemicals Management, H&M has the size and ability to act as a catalyst for change in the industry. H&M has also recognized the importance of cooperation; the industry must act together to achieve zero discharge.”
The company promised to come up with corporate action plan within the next eight weeks. The plan will detail the measures that will be taken to implement this commitment including timelines for public disclosure by the end of 2012 and for the elimination of the highest priority hazardous chemicals.
H&M is the fourth clothing company to respond positively to Greenpeace’s Detox campaign: Nike, Puma and Adidas have all agreed to eliminate discharges of all hazardous chemicals across their entire supply chains and their entire product life-cycle by 2020.
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