The British retailer Tesco announced a commitment to immediately start removing hazardous chemicals from the supply chain of its F&F clothing and footwear label. Tesco recently signed onto the Greenpeace Detox Campaign, agreeing to eliminate chemicals such as phthalates, heavy metals, and chlorinated solvents by 2020. The retailer joins 80 other brands and suppliers that have agreed to the campaign since it began in 2011.
For the past several years, international fashion retailers have been under increased pressure to recycle fabric, shrink their environmental footprints, and stop using toxic chemicals in their clothing manufacturing processes. A report published last month by the Changing Markets Foundation linked companies including Zara and H&M that sell clothes made from viscose fabric with toxic pollution in China. Although Tesco didn’t comment on its viscose suppliers at the time, a spokesperson for the company told the Guardian that they are committed to zero discharge of hazardous chemicals.
Tesco’s seven-point action plan for the Detox Campaign calls for increased transparency about suppliers and how well the suppliers are doing in phasing out specific hazardous chemicals, the company says. Discharge data from its facilities will be disclosed through a searchable international online database.
The action plan for F&F also supports the “precautionary principle,” meaning Tesco will avoid substances that could be harmful to the environment even if the effects haven’t been entirely proven yet. Eleven hazardous chemical groups including synthetic azo dyes and polyfluorinated compounds (PFCs) are being given priority.