Greenpeace: Major brands linked to river pollution in China
Nike, Abercrombie & Fitch, Adidas, Puma, Calvin Klein, Converse, Cortefiel, H&M and Lacoste are among the global megabrands named in a new Greenpeace report on hazardous river pollution by the garment industry in China.
Since 1995 China has been the world’s largest exporter of textiles, attracting Western and Japanese brands to manufacture there due to cheap labor and lax regulations.
Even when major international brands have self-imposed regulations on how their garments are produced, such rules are harder to monitor when outsourced to firms in other countries.
Youngor Group, the Chinese company linked to the international firms, uses chemical dyes and water treatment processes that pollute China’s major rivers with toxic chemicals. These chemicals have been linked to liver problems, low sperm count in men and the feminization of fish. High levels of alkaline and heavy metals have also been found in many Chinese rivers used in the textile industry.
Hong Kong-based Greenpeace campaigners claim that there are hundreds of similar textile suppliers in China.
However, H&M, Nike, Converse, Adidas, Puma and Cortefiel all state that their manufacturing relationship with Youngor does not utilize water treatment.