Greenpeace targets two suppliers over pollution

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 July, 2011, 12:00am

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World-famous clothing brands are sourcing products from two Chinese suppliers found to have been discharging toxic chemicals into rivers near their plants, a Greenpeace report claimed yesterday.

A total of 14 companies - including adidas, Nike, Puma, Abercrombie & Fitch, Calvin Klein, Converse, H&M and Lacoste - are clients of the suppliers, who were investigated by Greenpeace during the past year.

Samples taken last month from water near the Youngor Group textile complex on the Yangtze River Delta and near the Well Dyeing Factory on the Pearl River Delta near Hong Kong were allegedly found to contain hormone-disrupting chemicals, including alkylphenols and perfluorinated organic compounds, laboratory tests showed.

The chemicals are banned in Europe but have yet to be restricted by Beijing, Greenpeace said.

All the companies listed in the report confirmed they have business relationships with one of the two alleged polluters.

But six of them, including Nike and Puma, said wet processing of their products is not part of that relationship. Nike admitted it sources from two factories under the Youngor Group, but said they were 'cut-and-sew facilities' and 'do not have manufacturing processes that include the use of the chemicals' detected in Greenpeace's samples.

In a written reply to Greenpeace, adidas said that 'at the end of the manufacturing process for adidas' goods there is a washing process, but the possibility that high concentrations of the chemicals ... can occur is very low'.

Li Yifang, a campaigner at Greenpeace's Beijing office, said Youngor had promised to work with the group to eliminate the use of these chemicals. Well Dyeing Factory refused to give a written response.

Li said although companies say they are committed to conservation, they turn a blind eye to hazardous chemicals used in the supply chain. 'This is unacceptable,' she said.

She added that companies should exert a positive influence on the elimination of toxic chemicals from the production process.

An estimated 70 per cent of the mainland's rivers and lakes are polluted and industrial discharges account for about 20 per cent of organic pollutants, Greenpeace said.