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Adidas to Work With Greenpeace to Remove Toxics from Global Supply Chain

Adidas has revealed it is talking to competing sportswear brands, including Nike and Puma, as part of efforts to develop an industry-wide commitment to detoxing the supply chain.

The news comes as Greenpeace today stepped up its campaign against hazardous chemicals used in textile manufacturing with the release of a second report as part of its high-profile "Dirty Laundry" campaign.

Today's report found the presence of nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) in items of clothing bought in the EU bearing labels from high-profile brands such as Adidas, H&M and Abercrombie & Fitch.

NPE breaks down to form nonylphenol (NP), a persistent chemical with hormone-disrupting properties that builds up in the food chain and can prove hazardous even at very low levels.

Of the 78 articles of clothing analyzed, 52 tested positive for the presence of NPEs above the limit of 0.1 percent, with brands including Abercrombie & Fitch, Adidas, Calvin Klein, Converse, G-Star RAW, H&M, Kappa, Lacoste, Li Ning, Nike, Puma, Ralph Lauren, Uniqlo and Youngor all failing the test.

The study follows Greenpeace's first Dirty Laundry report last month, which found that a number of high street brands were linked to Chinese manufacturers that had been accused of spilling harmful chemicals into local water supplies.

The green NGO is now calling on high street brands to commit to a zero discharge of hazardous chemicals and greater transparency throughout their supply chains.

The initial report prompted Puma and Nike to commit to eliminating all releases of hazardous chemicals in their supply chains by 2020 and announce plans to develop an action plan detailing how they would meet their new target.

Meanwhile, Adidas has revealed it is planning to collaborate with other brands to develop improved supply chain standards.

Speaking to BusinessGreen, an Adidas spokeswoman said the company has already had early talks with brands including Pentland, which makes Lacoste shoes, H&M, Nike and Puma, about establishing an industry-wide initiative to develop integrated chemicals management programmes.

"We believe there needs to be an industry-wide approach and that's why we're trying to get together as a group," she said. "We've already had first discussions with other brands and we've been in constant dialogue in the last couple of weeks."

A spokesman for Greenpeace welcomed the news, although he also urged Adidas to commit to an individual action plan.

Today's report is intended to highlight the global problem caused by the use of NPEs and NPs.

EU member states are banned from manufacturing using NPEs and NPs, but can import products made elsewhere that contain less than 0.1 percent of those chemicals.

Greenpeace says this means that the chemicals are still released into waterways in Europe when they are washed here.

"Our previous research showed that global clothing brands are responsible for the discharge of hazardous chemicals into waterways in China as part of their manufacturing processes," said Yifang Li, toxic water campaigner at Greenpeace East Asia.

"This new report demonstrates that the problem is truly global – people around the world have a right to know about the chemicals that are present in the very fabric of their clothing and the harmful effects these chemicals have when released into the environment."

This article originally appeared on BusinessGreen, and is reprinted with permission.

Photo CC-licensed by warrenski.

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