Aldi commits to hazardous chemical detox

Leading discount retailer Aldi has signed up to Greenpeace's Detox campaign, committing to the zero discharge of hazardous chemicals from the lifecycle and production of all its textile and footwear goods by 2020.

As part of the commitment, Aldi has pledged to provide full transparency of its audit process and will establish full public disclosure of discharges of hazardous chemicals in the related supply chain.

Commenting on the pledge, Greenpeace Germany textiles expert Kirsten Brodde said: “In the discount retail game Aldi is a huge player. Now Aldi has accepted that their textiles must be produced without toxic chemicals.”

Sustainable consumption

The four-year Greenpeace Detox campaign requires fashion retailers to clean up production and eliminate dangerous pollutants contaminating water supplies worldwide.

In signing up to the Detox campaign, Aldi has agreed to ban dangerous pollutants such as alkylphenolethoxylates (APEOs) by the end of June 2016. The retailer had initially scored poorly when Greenpeace tested children’s clothing and children’s shoes from various discounters for hazardous chemicals last year.

In order to fulfil its commitment to Greenpeace’s campaign, the retailer will require 80% of its suppliers to disclose their wastewater data by the end of March 2016. The company is also aiming to establish a program for sustainable consumption by the end of June 2016.

Industry shift

Other discount retailers including Lidl and Tchibo, have also announced they have committed to cleaning up production, joining the 31 leading international fashion companies have already signed up to the Detox campaign.

“With Aldi and Lidl cleaning up their acts, the whole discount sector is shifting towards clean textile production.  Distancing themselves from throw-away fashion – this is what we now expect from the world’s largest retailers, Wal-Mart, Carrefour and Tesco,” added Brodde.

As part of the Detox campaign, Greenpeace last month unveiled a ‘Detox Catwalk’, listing how major fashion brands rank on removing toxic chemicals from their supply chains and tackling water pollution.

In the four years the Detox campaign has been running, a major shift in chemical regulations in manufacturing countries has begun, with harmful chemical groups being regulated in China and Indonesia, and phased out in Europe.

Lucinda Dann

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