British retailer Tesco to detoxify clothing

Tesco has promised to eliminate hazardous chemicals from its clothing supply chain, in a major coup for environmental campaigners Greenpeace.

The supermarket giant formally has joined Greenpeace's DETOX campaign, pledging to deliver "toxic-free" clothing under its own-brand range F&F and release a full list of suppliers in its clothing supply chain.

The move sees Tesco join the likes of M&S, H&M, Benetton, Levi Strauss, Aldi and Lidl in committing to Greenpeace's campaign to phase out toxic chemicals that can cause harm to the natural environment and wildlife.

The campaign requires signatories to adopt a "precautionary principle" excluding any potentially harmful substances, increase transparency of their supply chain and committing to eliminate all releases of toxic chemicals by 2020.

Tesco also committed to ensuring its supply chain for F&F operates "within equitable and planetary limits" by 2020.  

Kirsten Brodde, project lead of the DETOX campaign at Greenpeace Germany, said the initiative has created a new industry baseline for clothing and footwear retailers since its launch in 2011.

"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," she said in a statement. "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," she added.

Tesco said its responsible sourcing team has been working with Greenpeace to align all of its textile products with the detox commitment, starting with clothing and footwear.

"This commitment is part of our goal to protect the environment by sourcing products sustainably and responsibly for our customers," Alan Wragg, technical director for clothing at Tesco, said in a statement.

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