G-Star RAW's dirty laundry
Toxic commitments fail to live up to expectations
Greenpeace International have started a campaign against clothes brand G-Star RAW over the company's use of toxic chemicals.
Campaigners have accused the company of greenwash for using a plethora of dangerous chemicals in its manufacturing process whilst masquerading as a zero-chemical champion.
After Greenpeace's 'Dirty Laundry Reloaded' report of March 2012 confirmed that G-Star Raw’s clothing was manufactured using toxic chemicals such as Nonylphenolethoxylates (NPEs), the denim retailer responded with a public commitment to detox. It followed the example of six international brands that had announced they would be toxic-free by 2020.
However one of Greenpeace's key demands was a policy of transparency and G-Star have yet to commit this. Greenpeace have said that it is not acceptable that G-Star Raw is still only making vague commitments on local people’s right to know what chemicals are released into the water from individual factories. For example, they state that they are committed to disclose the discharge of toxic chemicals facility-by-facility, but in their action plan they state: “without reference to specific facilities.”
Another key Greenpeace demand was tied to creating clear and ambitious elimination deadlines for some of the most toxic substances used in their production processes, such as the hormone-disrupting Alkylphenols. G-Star Raw’s current ambition – to eliminate all Alkylphenols from their supply chain by the end of 2014 – is far too slow given the urgency of water contamination that is taking place in countries such as China, Indonesia and Thailand. Other brands are a lot more ambitious: H&M, for example, says that complete elimination is realistic long before 2014, even though it has a more complex supply chain than G-Star Raw.
Greenpeace have asked G-Star Raw to show more ambition, and to ensure that its commitments are water-tight. Greenpeace say that G-Star Raw is so close to being a champion of toxic-free production, and yet seems to be falling at the final hurdle.
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