Greenpeace’s goal is that the fashion industry should be toxic free by 2020. Our constant demand for the latest fashion made at the cheapest price has created an industry that cuts corners to keep shelves stocked with new lines that are costing mere pennies to make. These ‘corners’, however, are no trifling matter. Cuts are resulting in lands and rivers flooded with chemicals, clean water supplies being reduced, the safety of people being overlooked and more. Those who get the blame are the companies who are the biggest buyer of the manufactured goods. They are often the ones who are cutting costs in such flagrant ways.
When Greenpeace launched its ‘Detox’ programme in 2011, many of the ‘High Street Shops’ signed up to the programme. Some have been very proactive while others have yet to come up with an individual plan. The ‘Detox’ campaign aims to get them all on the same page by a target of 2020 and the ‘Catwalk’ campaign is putting their progress on display and labeling the companies as ‘Trendsetters’ or ‘Leaders’, ‘Greenwashers’ and ‘Laggards’.
Greenpeace outlines the three groups as follows:
Leaders – Detox committed companies leading the industry towards a toxic-free future with credible timelines, concrete actions and on-the-ground implementation.
Greenwashers – Detox committed companies failing to walk the talk, masking ineffective actions with paper promises and weak commitments
Laggards – Uncommitted toxic addicts that refuse to take responsibility for their toxic trail and have yet to make a credible, individual Detox commitment.
The assessment is based upon the credibility of a company’s Detox commitment and its actions to deliver on the ground outcomes. The committed companies are grouped according to their commitments and actions under three critical headings: Core Principles, Transparency and Elimination. . Greenpeace have assessed all the companies who have committed to the Detox programme except those in the ‘Laggards’ category as they have not yet made their individual commitments.
Campaigns like this will ‘name and shame’ some of the companies in to action but at the end of the day, if the demand is there, these fashion brands will continue to supply it. Until we as consumers start to demand answers to questions like where were my clothes made, and how, and by whom, then where is the motivation for the companies to supply the answers and to make changes?