Primark latest retailer to promise toxic-free supply chain

Gurjit Degun
10 February 2014

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11 February 2014 | Gurjit Degun

Primark has become the latest retailer to commit to eliminate all hazardous chemicals from its supply chain by 2020.

The move is part of Greenpeace’s global Detox campaign, and follows in the footsteps of brands such as Burberry which made the pledge two weeks ago.

As part of the commitment, the company has agreed to eliminate all hazardous chemicals in all its products and across its production processes by 2020. To ensure supply chain transparency, Primark will "increase the public availability of our restricted substance list". It also said it will set up public disclosure of discharges of hazardous chemicals in its supply chain.

“Primark’s commitment shows that it refuses to be left behind as toxic-free clothing becomes a fashion trend in the industry,” said Ilze Smit, Detox campaigner at Greenpeace International. “From budget retailers like Primark, to luxury houses like Burberry, brands are helping put an end to this toxic nightmare. Laggards like Adidas and Disney need to act now to stop these hazardous little monsters once and for all.”

A statement from Primark added: “We believe that business has a duty to act and trade responsibly. We have a stringent chemical management policy in place which complies fully with EU legislation. This policy is supported by a programme of due diligence and scrutiny to ensure our products comply at all times with these legal requirements.

“However, Primark has long recognised the importance of continuing to reduce the environmental impact of manufacturing processes, and has today announced its commitment to work with industry and stakeholders including Greenpeace to ban the use of all hazardous chemicals from the supply chain.”

Adidas refuted claims in the Greenpeace report that said some of its clothing pose a health risk. "We have carefully checked the results of the latest report by Greenpeace," it said. "The results and concentrations listed fully meet legal requirements and thus do not cause any health risks."

It added: "For continued reduction and elimination of substances classified as questionable chemical substances in our products and their manufacturing process, we work closely with material suppliers and representatives of the chemical industry and are committed to promote environmentally sound and technically feasible solutions in the industry." The company already has plans to phase out the use of all C8 compounds (long-chain perfluorinated chemicals) from it products by 2015, and for Adidas leisure clothing it has eliminated the use of C8 compounds for the fall/winter collection 2014.

Disney has not responded to SM's request for comment.

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