70% of the water in China’s rivers, lakes and reservoirs is polluted. Greenpeace discovered direct links between certain clothing brands and the textile factories in China that release chemical products into the rivers.
The textile industry is known for its reliance on chemicals. Which substances are used depends on the phase: from dyeing to printing or finishing. The wastewater resulting from these processes is often poisonous, presenting a serious threat not only to human health but also to the environment, as it poisons precious waterways.
Clothing obviously shouldn’t be poisonous, which is why Greenpeace decided to dig into the issue, investigating the connection between those Chinese companies that dump harmful chemicals into the water and well-known brands like sportswear giants Nike and Adidas, as parts of their collections are manufactured in China. The research was mainly directed at those companies that have the power to change the sector by going for toxic-free fashion. The results of the study proved that there was, indeed, a problem.
To raise awareness, Greenpeace challenged brands all over the world to come forth with toxic-free fashion. The organization asked them to ban the most toxic substances from their production chain.
Puma was the first brand to take on the challenge in 2011, but nowadays the Detox-movement has grown to include Burberry, Esprit, Valentino and Primark, among others. The brands that endorse the Detox manifesto make up 15 to 20% of the textile market worldwide.