Greenpeace urges Levi’s to clean up its act and ‘detox’

ACTION::In addition to a demonstration in Taipei, Greenpeace started an online petition, which was signed by 300,000 people within nine days

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Sun, Dec 09, 2012 - Page 3

Greenpeace Taiwan yesterday launched a campaign asking global fashion retail brand Levi’s to commit to eliminating certain chemical substances from its garments and manufacturing processes.

While showing a video clip of several Greenpeace volunteers using water-jet cleaning equipment to wash the sidewalk in front of a Levi’s store in Taipei’s Xinyi District (信義), leaving clean characters reading: “Levi’s DETOX now,” the organization accused the world’s largest jeans manufacturer of not announcing any measures to improve its operations.

“The street washing action aims to convey the message that it takes real action to get rid of hazardous chemicals. However, Levi’s has only given verbal commitment without showing any real determination,” the director of Greenpeace’s pollution prevention campaign in Taiwan, Rose Lai, (賴倩如) said.

Last month, Greenpeace released an investigative report, showing that 63 percent of the tested 141 garments from 20 global fashion brands contained nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPE) and a number of garments contained various types of plasticizers.

One of the two garments purchased in Taiwan was a Levi’s T-shirt which contained not only a detectable level of NPE, but also three types of plasticizers.

In addition to the street washing demonstration, the organization initiated an online petition demanding the brand stop using such chemicals to safeguard human health and protect the environment.

As long as toxic chemicals are used in the production chain, the environment continues to be under threat, Lai said.

“The public has the power to make a change,” she said.

“More than 300,000 people signed a petition within nine days of the release of the detox report, leading to the world’s largest clothes retailer, ZARA, committing to eliminating toxic chemicals and making product information available to the public,” she added.

According to Lai, so far ten brands have already responded to the campaign by committing to “detox” with practicable toxic chemical phase out plans.