In eleven European countries (plus Hong Kong), climate activists staged a Greenpeace action to “rebrand” H&M stores for their “Detox Now!” campaign. In nearly thirty stores, mostly in Northern countries, huge stickers were pasted on windows in an attempt to force the Swedish fashion retailer into stopping collaborations with polluting Chinese factories.
"Dirty laundry" report shows toxic pollution in China's main rivers
The Detox Now-campaign started in July, with the publication of the Dirty Laundry report. In that report, Greenpeace proved that several of the main clothing producers in the world (like Nike, Adidas, Puma, Calvin Klein, H&M, Converse or Abercrombie and Fitch) had contracts with Chinese suppliers that discharge a range of hazardous and persistent chemicals with hormone-disrupting properties in Chinese rivers like the Yangtze or the Pearl River, of which millions of people depend for their drinking water.
The Detox Now-campaign specifically focuses on these worldwide brands. “As brand owners, they are in the best position to influence the environmental impacts of production and to work together with their suppliers to eliminate the releases of all hazardous chemicals from the production process and their product”, says Greenpeace. “As one of the largest clothing groups in the world, an H&M committed to a toxic-free future would set the trend for the rest of the fashion industry to follow”, is Greenpeace's hope.
Puma, Nike, Adidas already agreed to halt chemical discharge
H&M is the fourth major brand to be tackled by Greenpeace, after Puma (immediately after the report publication), Nike (mid-August) and Adidas (end of August) had already promised to halt the discharge of toxic chemicals. So far, H&M has not officially responded to Greenpeace's allegations, but its head of CSR Helena Helmersson has said that the Swedes “always want to improve and share Greenpeace´s ambition to eliminate hazardous chemicals throughout the entire textile production. That is why we will continue our dialogue with Greenpeace this week to see how we together can take another step forward.”