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20 Italian Textile Companies Join Greenpeace Detox Efforts

Twenty companies from Italy’s Prato textile district on Thursday announced their commitment to Greenpeace’s Detox campaign, joining the group’s goal to lead the industry towards eradicating all harmful chemical substances from the clothing supply chain by 2020.

Prato is home to Italy’s oldest textile manufacturers and exports more than 2.5 billion euros (around $2.8 billion) worth of clothing annually to global brands including Burberry, Prada, Valentino, Armani and Gucci.

According to Greenpeace, the 20 participants are responsible for the production of more than 13,000 tons of yarn and raw materials as well as more than 13 million meters of fabric every year.

The Confindustria Toscana Nord, which represents the largest textile district in Europe, has been charged with overseeing the regional adoption of the Detox hazardous chemical elimination standards at the supply chain level. The association plans to develop and provide tools to support the campaign’s implementation, creating an auditing protocol, tracking progresses, publishing case studies and increasing transparency through the publication of testing results.

“Prato’s decision will ripple throughout the global textile supply chain and hopefully encourage more manufacturers to Detox,” Giuseppe Onufrio, executive director at Greenpeace Italy, said in a statement. “They have chosen the chemical management ‘gold’ standard by which all other fashion brands and sectoral hazardous chemical initiatives will be measured. Now that their own suppliers are committing to eliminate hazardous chemicals, brands such as Gucci, Prada and Armani have no excuse but to follow suit.”

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The Prato-based companies have already removed several hazardous chemical groups required by the Detox campaign, including brominated and chlorinated flame retardants, organotins compounds and amines associated with azo dyes that can have negative effects on human reproductive systems and cause cancer. In addition to removing the remaining substances by 2020, they have also agreed to discontinue their use of poly- and perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) by the summer of 2016.

Other highlights of the agreement include eliminating hazardous chemicals from:

• yarn production: 4,500 tons per year

• fabric production: 4.5 million meters per year

• textile raw materials production: 1,800 tons per year

• yarn dyed: 3,700 tons per year

• fabrics dyed: 8.8 million meters per year

• chemicals produced: 3,200 tons per year

“It is important for our association and our companies of Prato to show the world that we are physically and financially committed to putting the Detox requirements into practice,” Andrea Cavicchi, president of Confindustria Toscana Nord, said. “In the upcoming months we will continue to detox our manufacturing and further green a supply chain that proudly provides global brands with the highest standard in the textile industry.”

The Prato region’s pledge joins the 35 international fashion and textile brands and retailers—representing more than 15 percent of global textile production in terms of sales—that have already committed to a toxic-free future since Detox launched in 2011. Among the participating companies are Miroglio and Inditex, as well as Valentino, Adidas, H&M and Burberry.