Lidl commits to clothing chemicals detox

Discount retailer Lidl has pledged to remove all hazardous chemicals from its textiles production by January 2020, following pressure from environmental groups.

The announcement comes after the German company was targeted by the Greenpeace Detox campaign which found ‘weaknesses’ in the retailer’s raw materials, recycling and social production standards.

Lidle will phase out hazardous water pollutants by the end of June 2016, and all per-and polyfluorinated chemicals by July 2017.

In addition, 80% of Lidl’s ‘wet-process’ suppliers will reveal their wastewater data by the end of 2015, improving supply chain transparency.

This commitment applies to all of Lidl’s apparel, footwear and home textiles.

“The global retail giant Lidl takes a huge first step forward,’ said Greenpeace Germany campaigner Manfred Santen. “Now discounters like Aldi, Penny, Tesco, Carrefour and Wal-Mart have to clean up their production, too.”


Greenpeace’s Detox campaign has so far convinced 21 leading international fashion companies and six suppliers to clean up their production by 1 January 2020. The campaign is fighting against global water pollution from textile production – the majority currently produced in Asia.

‘The junk range time is over. A backlash is already visible, away from quantity to quality,’ said Santen.

Hazardous wastewater is not the only challenge facing companies that produces clothing and textiles. Climate change and the resultant water stresses have highlighted the sheer amount of water wasted by the industry – 20,000 litres of water per 1kg of cotton.

The amount of waste is equally staggering with nearly 10,000 garments of clothing sent to landfill every five minutes according Oxfam. This idea of throwaway fashion only exacerbates existing environmental issues.

Brad Allen

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