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Several fashion brands linked to polluting factories

19 : 06 : 2017 Fashion : Sustainability : Retail

Global – Brands including H&M, Zara and ASOS have been named in a new report from the Changing Markets Foundation.

The report, Dirty Fashion: How Pollution in the Global Textiles Supply Chain is Making Viscose Toxic, has revealed links between polluting factories and major fashion brands. Tesco, United Colors of Benetton and Burton have also been named in the report.

Bring It On by H&M, Global Bring It On by H&M, Global

‘This report reveals that some of the world’s biggest brands are turning a blind eye to questionable practices within their supply chains,’ says campaign manager Natasha Hurley in a statement from Changing Markets Foundation. ‘With water pollution increasingly recognised as a major business risk, shifting to more sustainable production processes should be high on retailers’ agendas.’

As a fibre, viscose is man-made and used widely in the textile supply chain. At production plants in China, viscose has been found to pollute the water, contribute to worker fatalities and pose severe health implications for local residents.

The viscose staple fibre market is projected to grow to £13.13bn ($16.78bn, €15bn) per year in 2021, according to the report. With just 11 companies owning 75% of all viscose production, there is a huge opportunity for brands to make a difference.

The Big Picture

  • As brands continue to be held accountable for their actions, they will need to take a Whole-system Thinking approach to their businesses
  • For more on how fashion is approaching the topic of sustainability, see our Briefing report on the 2017 Copenhagen Fashion Summit