International fast-fashion retailer C&A has just joined with China’s biggest sportswear company, Li-Ning, and Adidas, Nike, Puma and H&M to launch a Joint Roadmap to begin tackling the fashion industry’s toxic pollution problem.
This year our Detox campaign exposed the direct link between global clothing brands, their suppliers, and toxic water pollution around the world. The Joint Roadmap is an important step forward, and a reminder of what public pressure can achieve.
The Roadmap is accompanied by individual commitments to eliminate all hazardous chemicals from their supply chains and products by 2020 from Li-Ning and C&A, making their participation in the Joint Roadmap credible, and cementing their promise to achieve zero discharges of all toxic, persistent and hormone-disrupting chemicals from their production processes regardless of the actions of the other brands.
Li-Ning’s inclusion is particularly important, as the first Chinese brand to commit to “Detox” following months of public campaigning by Greenpeace supporters in East Asia and elsewhere. They set the bar for all other Chinese brands.
Both C&A and Li-Ning still have areas to improve upon in their respective commitments, notably around how transparent they are being in terms of tracking their progress towards zero discharges, and with regard to setting stricter and more ambitious targets for eliminating some of the most dangerous chemicals. That said, the commitment by Li-Ning to release its first Restricted Substance List online by the end of 2011 and C&A’s target to begin releasing pollution data by the end of 2012 are important steps in the right direction. Our campaigners will be keeping a close eye on the brands to make sure they are living up to their promises.
Whilst there is still a long way to go, thanks to days like today and your ongoing support in pushing these brands to champion clean and sustainable production, we are starting to see what that toxic-free future might just look like.