Not all companies are taking steps toward toxic-free fashion.
Greenpeace International on Tuesday released its 2016 Detox Catwalk assessment, which evaluates how effectively 19 major apparel companies are eliminating toxic chemicals from their supply chains.
Benetton, H&M and Inditex were the sole three “Avant-Garde” companies on track for cleaner supply chains by 2020. Esprit, Nike and Victoria’s Secret received bottom rankings under “Faux Pas,” due to the fact that all three companies were not taking action to fulfill this sustainable goal.
“Our assessment shows that the textile industry as a whole is not doing enough to go toxic-free. Sixteen out of the 19 brands assessed are stumbling over transparency issues or failing to eliminate toxic chemicals; with only three years left they must speed up now if they’re to meet their 2020 deadlines,” Greenpeace Germany’s head of the Detox My Fashion campaign, Kirsten Brodde, said.
The Detox Catwalk’s fashion brands were rated using three criteria. First, how much commitment was underway for the Detox 2020 plan, a system for cleaning up hazardous chemicals in their supply chains. Secondly, how well each company performed PFC elimination, which is where hazardous PFCs are substituted with safer alternatives. Lastly, brands were evaluated for their transparency; how much information was disclosed on apparel suppliers and any hazardous chemicals that they discharge.
Esprit, Nike and Victoria’s Secret fell into the “Faux Pas” category, for failing most or all of the criteria. Esprit failed to publish data on hazardous chemicals discharged into wastewater. Victoria’s Secret failed to confirm that it eliminated all PFCs by the July 2015 manufacturing deadline. Nike failed on all three categories, for not eliminating all PFCs in its products.
In addition to “Avant-Garde” and “Faux Pas” categories under the Detox Catwalk, 12 other committed brands fell under the “Evolution Mode” category. “Evolution Mode” ratings were granted to companies that weren’t prohibiting enough hazardous chemicals and also following the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) list, which Greenpeace said doesn’t classify PFCs and solvents (such as Dimethylformamide) as dangerous chemicals.
Companies that scored poorly under “Evolution Mode” included Burberry, Levi’s, Primark and Puma. Although some “Evolution Mode” companies such as G-Star and Mango scored higher for better chemical management and improved supply chain transparency, their efforts weren’t enough to secure top spots on the Detox Catwalk.
Last year’s Detox Catwalk yielded similar results, with H&M still proving that cleaner fashion is possible as one of the best companies evaluated. G-Star, Levi’s and Primark also received pretty good ratings as well—and the three companies also stole spots on the 2015 Detox Catwalk’s “Detox Leaders” list.
Brodde spoke about how some Detox Catwalk companies this year are working hard to establish supply chain transparency, despite mediocre ratings for chemical management.
“A major step forward this year is that committed companies are truly lifting the veil on their supply chains. Companies are publishing complete suppliers’ lists, which shows a trend for long-term relationships with suppliers networks, built on mutual trust. That is crucial for implementing the Detox program,” she said.