Levi’s cuts toxic chemicals from supply chain

18 December 2012

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18 December 2012 | Adam Leach

Jeans maker Levi Strauss has committed to eradicate all hazardous chemicals from its supply chain by 2020 following pressure from environmental campaigners.

In a statement published last week, the company explained it is committed to attaining “zero discharge of hazardous chemicals” throughout all production procedures in its whole supply chain. The announcement came after more than 210,000 people called on the company to make the commitment through social media such as Facebook and Twitter after Greenpeace published a report into toxic chemicals in clothing supply chains.

Commenting on the announcement, Pierre Terras, toxics campaign co-ordinator at Greenpeace Mexico, said: “Levi’s has become a global detox leader after it promised to use alternatives to hazardous chemicals – a milestone in the way clothes are manufactured and a victory for people in Mexico and elsewhere affected by toxic water pollution.”

As part of the agreement reached with Greenpeace, 15 of Levi’s largest suppliers in China, Mexico and other developing countries will be required to disclose pollution data from as early as June 2013. Other actions include strengthening contract language to ensure suppliers use Alkylphenol ethoxylate-free chemicals, and to review all products to ensure that they are free of perfluorocarbon (PFC).

The campaign to get the company to commit followed the launch of the Toxic Threads: Under Wraps report by Greenpeace. It found that a diverse range of chemicals, such as nonylphenol and tributyl phosphate, had been released into the environment through wastewater from textiles factories that supply a number of major clothing manufacturers.

The call for the chemicals to be eradicated was made due to the damage they do to aquatic life or the fact they do not disappear and remain in the environment forever.

Earlier this month, fashion group Inditex also announced that it would work to eliminate all toxic chemicals from the supply chains of its brands by 2020.

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