Tesco joins fellow supermarket chains M&S, Aldi and Lidl in committing to the Greenpeace campaign, which calls on brands involved with clothing to remove the use of toxic chemicals from certain practices.

“Greenpeace endorses our plan to phase-out hazardous chemicals in our supply chain as part of the Greenpeace DETOX commitment,” Tesco’s category technical director Alan Wragg said in a blogpost.

“Tesco’s Responsible Sourcing Team has been working with Greenpeace to align all our textile products with the DETOX commitment, starting with clothing and footwear.”

The UK-based supermarket will work with Greenpeace and its “complete” supply chain to ensure zero discharge of hazardous chemicals into the environment by 2020.

From denial and opacity…

Greenpeace’s DETOX campaign was launched in 2011, to challenge brands to eliminate toxic chemicals from supply chains. Alongside supermarkets, the initiative has been backed by fashion brands including H&M and Levi Strauss. Transparency is a key focus of the campaign, and companies have until 2020 to implement measures and eliminate all toxic chemical releases.

“In only six years, forerunners of the textile sector went from total denial and opacity of their supply chain to transparency and the banning of all hazardous chemicals,” Greenpeace Germany’s project lead for the campaign Kirsten Brodde said.

“Tesco’s commitment shows the rest of the industry that using hazardous chemicals is not an option anymore. Tesco now has the opportunity to match the progress being made by other retailers and Greenpeace will monitor it closely to ensure they follow up their commitment.”

Recent research has revealed the extent to which toxic chemical practices can wreak havoc on the environment. Fashion retailers H&M and M&S have vowed to implement new supply chain management approaches, after a report linked them with highly-polluting facilities that were dumping toxic wastewater into local waterways.

At the other end of the value chain, Asia’s mountains of hazardous electronic trash, or e-waste, are growing rapidly because manufacturers are failing to remove all toxins from products and make them easier to repair and recycle.

Matt Mace

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