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Adidas and Nike need to detox

Update: 18/08/2011

Greenpeace has announced that Nike has officially signed up to the Detox Challenge.

Not only has Nike committed to eliminating all hazardous chemicals across its entire supply chain, and the entire life-cycle of its products by 2020, but it also agreed to address the issue of the public”s “right to know” by ensuring full transparency about the chemicals being released from its suppliers” factories.

The sportswear giant has also promised to use its influence, knowledge and experience to bring about widespread elimination of hazardous chemicals from the clothing industry.

Our original story:

On July 14, Greenpeace paid a visit to Nike’s European headquarters near Amsterdam. And as usual, they didn’t bother with the front door. Activists unfurled a giant 16-meter-long red t-shirt from the roof to grab attention for Greenpeace’s new Detox campaign. The day before, activists in Beijing displayed another banner at the main entrance of the world’s largest Adidas store. The point Greenpeace is making is that major rivers in China are being seriously polluted with chemicals released by textile factories. And just like many other brands, Nike and Adidas do plenty of business with these factories.

A toxic soup
Analyses of the water samples reveal the presence of toxins that pose a serious threat to human health and to the environment. And the only reason that they are best online casino there is because factories nearby are dumping chemicals that have been banned for decades in Europe. And because top brands such as Nike and Adidas tolerate it. Greenpeace is calling for these companies to use the power they wield as owners of our favourite brands to push their suppliers to clean up their acts.

Tip of the ice-burg

According to Greenpeace, China is far from being the only country to be swamped by toxic waste from the textiles industry. And that has been confirmed by a recent report from Reuters on a similar situation in Bangladesh. To get a broader look at this issue, we analysed our own database of around 400 clothing brands. What did it reveal? Just 5% of clothing and shoe brands report having any kind of policy for improving the environmental impact of their bleaching and dying processes. Which tells us that this issue is apparently still not high up enough on the industry’s agenda. So while it seems that the entire textiles industry deserves a bad reputation, Greenpeace is challenging the brands with the most power in the supply chain to take responsibility and clean up our clothes. Support their campaign!

Walking at a snail’s pace?
Greenpeace highlights another interesting aspect of this problem – one that is very close to Rank a Brand’s heart. Many of these brands talk the talk. In fact, Nike and Adidas are both in the 5% of companies that publish a policy on water treatment. But it’s harder to tell whether a brand walks the walk. Or at least, you have to read their information pretty critically to tell how fast they are walking!

Hunting for the data
For example, the second chart on this page shows us that Nike has achieved a compliance rate of about 80% among the 403 suppliers that have signed up to their standards. But we had to go here to see that Nike actually works with more than 700 factories. So there are at least 297 facilities that are not signed up to this program. Nike also doesn’t tell us where they are located – maybe they’re all in China? Further, it’s quite hard to find any concrete details about what their ‘Water Program’ actually demands from suppliers (although Nike does publish a restricted substance list).

‘A’ for effort
Let us be clear: we salute the effort that Nike puts into reporting on its CSR practices. But the Greenpeace campaign shows that publishing a huge quantity of information doesn’t necessarily create the transparency we need. If Nike, Adidas and other brands sign up to Greenpeace’s Detox Challenge, we really hope they give a clear account of their progress…

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