The ‘Fashion Detox Manifesto’ was started by Greenpeace back in 2011. The campaign came into fruition after a year long investigation, which the organization culminated into their ‘Dirty Laundry: Unraveling the Corporate Connections to Toxic Water Pollution in China ’ report. This report brings attention to hidden links between textile manufacturing facilities in China that emit hazardous chemicals into the water, and international brands like Adidas and Nike. Those two popular brands were the first to be challenged by Greenpeace to sign their detox manifesto and urge their suppliers to eliminate all toxic, persistent and hormone-disrupting chemicals from their products and production processes. It’s estimated that 17-20% of the world’s industrial water pollution comes from the dyeing and treatment of textiles.
What has followed throughout the years since the campaign began is a lengthy list of positive steps toward the direction of more sustainable, less harmful practices. Protestors in Bangkok painted “detox” tattoos all over their bodies and joined up with more than 600 people to take part in the world’s largest coordinated striptease outside of Adidas and Nike stores worldwide back in 2011. Later in the campaign, Greenpeace put out the next ‘Dirty Laundry’ report detailing new research that shows how the bigger brands use nonylphenol ethoxylates or NPEs (chemicals that break down to form toxic substances) in their manufacturing cycle.
Thanks to this campaign, as well as a flurry of Tweets, Facebook posts and Detox stickers displayed, retailer H&M pledged to publish info on chemicals released from the factories of its suppliers and to discontinue the use and release of all hazardous chemicals from its supply chain by 2020. They also disclosed a detailed version of their ‘Restricted Substance List’ on their website for public knowledge for the first time.
In December of 2012 Greenpeace issued a blog post by Muyi Yang, of the Greenpeace East Asia group, titled “Silent Witnesses to the Toxic Truth”. In this article Yang reported, “A year ago we set out to investigate the discharges flowing into the Qiantang River in the coastal Zhejiang Province. This is an area where more than one third of China’s dyeing and printing takes place in an attempt to quench the insatiable global thirst for fast-fashion. Big global brands, such as Calvin Klein, were found to have links to suppliers operating in the region, many of whom take advantage of communal waste water treatment plants to conceal and mix their dirty pollution together with the waste water coming from other production facilities. And when we tested the water coming out of these big industrial areas, we found a real cocktail of chemicals that contained both hormone-disrupting and cancer-causing substances.”
Now, 20 major brands have joined in on this campaign including: Adidas, Puma, Nike, C&A, H&M, M&S, Mango, Esprit, Levi’s, Uniqlo, Benetton, G-Star Raw, Victoria’s Secret, Li-Ning, Valentino, and Zara. Over half a million people have signed the detox manifesto, demanding toxic-free fashion and clean water. For more information, or if you would like to get involved somehow, please see the campaign’s web page.
As a young woman born and raised around Seattle, WA, Lindsay Bloom attributes the backdrop of her city’s neighboring mountains, beautiful peninsulas, and easily accessible old-growth forests as her inspiration for her efforts in conversation and sustainable living. This Pacific North-Westerner received her Bachelors degree in Environmental Studies from The Evergreen State College in 2012. Since then, she has spent time doing volunteer organic farm-work through the WWOOF program on the beautiful Big island of Hawaii. Her passions include environmental health, fashion and street style, agriculture, food, travel, culture, social advocacy for justice and equality, yoga, and hula-hooping. Lindsay also contributes sustainable living articles to the ‘Go Green’ blog from Greendeals.org.
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