Sat, Dec 01, 2012 - Page 3 News List

ZARA commits to phasing out toxic chemicals: group

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

In response to Greenpeace’s Global Detox campaign, world fashion retailer ZARA has committed to eliminate all environmental discharges of hazardous chemicals in its supply chain and products by 2020, Greenpeace Taiwan said.

Last month, Greenpeace released a test report showing the presence of toxic chemicals — including nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPE), various types of plasticizers or cancer-causing aromatic amine — in garments from 20 global fashion brands and staged protests at ZARA stores in 80 areas worldwide, calling for the brands to stop using chemicals that harm human health and the environment.

After the report was released, more than 315,000 people have joined the campaign, with tens of thousands voicing their support on Facebook and Twitter and more than 700 people staging rallies in front of the stores, the organization said.

Two of the 141 garments tested by Greenpeace at its laboratories in the UK were purchased in Taiwan, including a pair of children’s pants from ZARA found containing a detectable level of NPE. Greenpeace Taiwan also held a protest at ZARA’s flagship store in Taipei on Nov. 24.

In response, ZARA’s parent company, Inditex, announced on Thursday that it had asked its 20 suppliers to start disclosing pollution data as early as March next year and allowing people living near these manufacturing facilities to receive information about industrial discharges in the local environment, Greenpeace Taiwan said.

Inditex has also committed to expanding information disclosure to at least 100 suppliers by the end of next year, setting short-term elimination timelines for other priority hazardous chemicals and achieving zero discharge of all hazardous chemicals by 2020, the group added.

“People have the right to know what kinds of toxic chemicals are used in the manufacturing process of the garments they purchase, and the more information is transparent to the public, the more these brands will change undesirable production methods,” said Rose Lai (賴倩如), director of Greenpeace’s pollution prevention campaign in Taiwan.

“Following seven sportswear brands’ commitment to eliminate hazardous chemical discharges after the first report [on toxic chemical uses in global sportwear brands] last year, ZARA is the eighth brand to set a phase-out timeline,” she said.

“This means detox works and other brands should also make specific commitments as soon as possible,” she added.

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