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Greenpeace International’s Textile Procurement Policy

Background - 25 October, 2012
Greenpeace believes that fashion should not cost the earth, and that no hazardous chemicals should be used or released when making or washing our clothes.

Today, the textile industry is poisoning waterways around the world with hazardous, persistent and hormone-disrupting chemicals and treating our public waterways like private sewers. No standard currently exists that can guarantee the clothes we wear were not made using toxic chemicals.

As a campaigning organisation we are working hard, alongside millions of people around the world, to convince the textile sector to take up the Detox Challenge: by cutting its addiction to hazardous chemicals and producing quality clothing that does not poison our precious waterways.

Until brands and suppliers can prove through transparent reporting that their clothes were not made using and releasing hazardous chemicals, Greenpeace is suspending all sales of textile products. As an organisation we want to supply our supporters with t-shirts that change the world, but we will only be able to sell textiles again when the industry can produce toxic-free fashion.

For the limited amount of clothing we need to produce for campaigning purposes (activists need clothes too!) these will be made in-line with our best-in-class procurement policy that we will regularly review and update as progress on the road to toxic-free production is made.

The more brands engage on this issue and pioneer green solutions and substitutions, the sooner consumers will no longer have to worry about toxics in any of their textile products

We believe in recognising those who are progressive and clean up their act and speaking truth to those who stand in the way of a toxic-free future. If you are like us and feel passionately that fashion and pollution don’t mix, then join us and sign our manifesto for toxic-free fashion.

greenpeace t-shirt

Where can I buy a Greenpeace T-shirt?

You cannot buy a Greenpeace T-shirt for the moment. We have stopped selling all textile products until suppliers are able to provide us with transparent information proving that they are able to produce clothing using zero hazardous chemicals throughout their supply chains.

From now on, all textiles that we use for campaign purposes will adhere to our strict procurement policy. We will continue to use any textiles, for instance t-shirts, that are in our stockpile rather than let them go to waste.

I have a Greenpeace T-shirt/product. What do I do with it now?

While the standards of production do not match the standards we set for the industry, we urge you to keep it! The wearing of our textile products do not pose a health risk. The best way to be environmental friendly is to make it last as long as possible, so that it stays in your wardrobe and not end up in landfill.

What does Greenpeace’s new procurement policy cover?

A global textile procurement policy was agreed in 2012 at the October EDM and formally approved on November 28 2012. The full policy can be found here. The Greenpeace procurement policy applies to all cotton-based textile products that we will buy from now on. We will now only procure textiles that have minimal environmental impact and are in line with the organisation’s core values. All textiles purchased under this policy must be 100% organic, from fair-trade raw materials and have GOTS certification or at least an equivalent. Paint for printing must be toxic free and environment friendly. Anything else does not meet Greenpeace standards.

What is Greenpeace demanding from fashion brands?

We demand fashion brands to eliminate the use and release of hazardous chemicals from their entire supply chain and products. These chemicals possess hazardous properties; they can be persistent, bio-accumulative, toxic, carcinogenic, mutagenic, reprotoxic or hormone disruptors, and pose risks for the environment and human health.

Brands often work with a large number of suppliers and hazardous chemicals are not only used and released in various stages of production, but often also end up in the clothes we wear. We demand that communities and consumers have a right to know what is going in our water and clothes - brands must disclose releases of hazardous chemicals from individual suppliers.

Since the global campaign was launched in 2011, we have secured commitments from a large number of high-street, sportswear and luxury fashion houses to eliminate hazardous chemicals from their production processes and products. This is a positive start, but more brands need to respond to the urgency of the situation and take ambitious action to Detox our clothes, and our campaign will continue to push for positive solutions and progress in the sector.