Greenpeace says several major clothing brands have made undeniable progress in use of chemicals. The evolution is driven by a growing demand from customers for more natural products. Brands are more willing to communicate.
In 2011, the environmental NGO launched a challenge for clothing brands to denounce the use of toxic chemicals by the textile industry and encourage it to adopt practices that are more respectful of consumers and the environment. The lack of knowledge of their service providers on their subcontracting chains, often based in Asia, was particularly targeted.
Since 2011, the NGO’s detox campaign has been calling on major brands to phase out 11 chemical classes of concern by 2020. It says without eliminating the use and release of harmful chemicals from production chains the circular dream could well become a toxic recirculation nightmare.
Up to 20 per cent of water pollution is attributable to various tissue treatments. The textile industry uses 43 million tons of chemicals each year. Nonylphenol ethoxylates for fixing colors or phthalates for plastic elements are often found in the production lines of clothes.
The objective of Greenpeace, now, is to obtain zero rejection by 2020. Discussions about irritating or corrosive substances have also been launched by the European Chemicals Agency.