Greenpeace claims that its "Detox Fashion" campaign – accusing leading fashion brands of irresponsible production practices and demanding that they change their ways has been successful.
The environment advocacy group said that some of the world's leading fashion brands, such as Calvin Klein, Giorgio Armani, Zara and Victoria’s Secret were purveying their customers with "toxic" products, tainted with carcinogenic chemicals used in their production process, and challenged them to detox their wares.
The "Detox Fashion" campaign
The campaign stretched beyond Belgium and according to Greenpeace, more than 700 people, in over 80 cities in 20 countries around the world – from Bangkok to Buenos Aires – participated in the protest.
Although 20 top brands were named in the campaign, Greenpeace seems to have highlighted Zara, as a recent study found traces of hazardous chemicals in its clothing lines.
According to the Greenpeace, some of those chemicals which can break down in the environment to become hormone-disrupting or even cancer-causing substances.
"Mannequin" walk-outs were staged outside several Zara stores, demanding that the Spanish fashion giant eliminate the use of all hazardous chemicals throughout its supply chain.
Martin Hojsik of Greenpeace campaign said: "What we would like to see from Zara is a guarantee that no toxic discharges have taken place during the manufacture of the products that Greenpeace have tested. Also we demand Zara investigates why their procedures failed to pick up the problems that Greenpeace identified.
"Other companies, such as H&M, have been taking real action on the issue, so what’s holding Zara back? The H&M and M&S Detox commitments, for example, have solid chemical management protocols and are built upon transparency, and this will enable them to achieve the 2020 elimination goal."
Zara's parent company Inditex initially rebuffed Greenpeace's the claims, stating that the "that stringent quality controls cover 100% of its products with the most demanding and highest accuracy levels. In addition, it said its standards - Clear to Wear/Safe to Wear - follow the most demanding regulations worldwide and they are mandatory for all its suppliers."
However, an updated corporate responsibility charter on its website later said that it will be taking several steps "In line with Inditex's commitment to the public's 'right to know' about the chemical substances used within its global supply-chain and the products it sells."
The company stated that it will publish its updated "restricted substances list," audit processes by the end of April 2013 and "begin public disclosure of discharges of hazardous chemicals in its supply chain via individual facility level disclosure of chemical use and discharges data, to be achieved via an incremental process."
The company further pledged to make similar disclosure demands from at least 100 of its subcontractors and suppliers by the end of 2013.