Thursday, January 24, 2013

Your Underwear may be Going Green (Fashion Toxic Report)

Greenpeace  "Toxic Threads" Report
If you shop at Victoria Secrets that is. According to the blog Fashionista, many fast fashion and high end fashion companies are under moral fire for their negative impact on the environment through the use of toxic fabrics and dyes.

The fashion blog shared some of the negative reports investigated and released by Greenpeace, "an independent campaigning organization that uses peaceful but direct action and creative communication to expose global environmental" violators.

In Greenpeace's report, accurately coined "Toxic Threads: The Big Fashion Stich-Up", a total of 141 items of clothing, purchased in mid 2012 from 29 countries world wide were investigated and exposed for using toxic chemicals and polluting water- including Armani, Zara, and Levi's. The chemicals found included high levels of toxic phthalates and cancer-causing amines. (download the PDF report here).

On the happy end of this report, Greenpeace classified brands that have made a credible zero discharge commitment and are taking steps to implement the zero detox status. These brands, coined "Engaged Detox Brands," include H&M, C&A, and Marks and Spencer.

On the sad end of this report, Greenpeace classified the companies that have not made a zero discharge commitment as "Detox Laggards." These companies include Zara, PVH (Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger), Mango, and GAP. Also "'Detox Villans' are brands with little or no policy or programme for chemicals management, and no commitment to Zero Discharges" and include Espirit and Metersbonwe.

Victoria Secrets came under fire as a "Detox Villan" but it has committed to disclose discharge data from 80 percent of its entire global supply chain by the end of 2013. Read it here. As the most recognized apparel brand in the U.S., V.S.'s step signifies a possible influence and power over other fashion brands when it comes to being considerate and proactive towards the environment (so we hope).

So what can YOU THE CONSUMER do TO HELP? Greenpeace advises that we demand the governments and brands to act now to detox our rivers, clothing, and ultimately our futures. The government can list the hazardous chemicals and have a publicly available register of data on discharge emissions and losses of hazardous substances. Last but not least, Boycotting usually makes a powerful statement.

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