Marks & Spencer has set a timetable to phase out the use of harmful chemicals for water-repellent clothing, the second major brand to do so after H&M. In response to a Greenpeace campaign, the global retailer will stop using all perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) - chemicals used in stain-resistant and water-resistant clothing - by July 2016. Marks and Spencer, which has 14 outlets in Hong Kong, will also conduct a trial with five mills in China to assess the feasibility of publicly disclosing dyehouse chemical discharge data. "Processes are now being used in the M&S supply chain that reduce the impact on the environment such as cold batch dyeing, a process that, on average, uses 50 per cent less water and reduces carbon by 30 per cent," Mark Sumner, sustainable raw materials manager at M&S, said in a global announcement. Greenpeace says PFCs can harm aquatic creatures and disrupt the hormonal systems of organisms. "It takes a century for the chemical to decay in the environment," the activist group's campaigner, Ada Kong, said. "It has been found in some fish in the Yangtze River, affecting their reproductive abilities and reducing their numbers." H&M had earlier announced a global ban on PFCs from next year. The company said it had found an alternative method that achieves water repellence, has good environmental and health properties and can be applied to all fabrics used by the brand. Apart from stopping the use of PFCs, Marks & Spencer has also promised to phase out all hazardous chemicals throughout its supply chain and products by 2020, making it the seventh brand to make the commitment - after sports heavyweights adidas, Nike, Puma and Li Ning, and fashion brands C&A and H&M. Marks & Spencer has about 1,120 outlets worldwide.