Tag Archives: Fashion

Greenpeace Detoxing the World One Brand at a Time

I recently read an article on Huffington Post about Greenpeace’s Detox campaign¬†that was launched in 2011. The video below summarizes the campaign and it’s impact to date.

Greenpeace has identified that numerous clothing companies around the world are polluting the world’s water supply with hazardous waste that is used in the clothing production. What’s more disconcerting is that the perpetrators are large companies that are highly profitable and it is being done mostly in third-world countries, where clean drinking water is already hard to find. Some of the companies Greenpeace has identified are Levis, Zara, Gap and Victoria’s Secret, among others.

The Detox Campaign aims to expose the pollution that is being done by the fashion industry and to educate the general population about the actions of their favourite brands. In addition to creating awareness, Greenpeace hopes that the public will react and put pressure on these companies to stop polluting, and they succeeded. Various public protests have taken place and companies are beginning to take notice. As mentioned in the video, big brands such as Valentino and H&M have begun to substitute out hazardous chemicals and are working with their supply chain to make the necessary improvements. To date, there have been 19 companies that have committed to “detox” their clothing in response to the campaign. Although it has been a slow process, Greenpeace has made progress towards a world free from corporate pollution. The fashion-industry is just one player in the world of corporate pollution, but it is undoubtedly a very large piece to the puzzle, and one that will generate the most public response

My Opinion

I think that Greenpeace’s Detox campaign is very smart. Their ultimate goal is a world free from corporate pollution, and I think that this campaign takes a large step in the right direction. Some may say that is unfair to target one group of players within the corporate pollution world but I think that Greenpeace made the right choice to target the fashion industry. The fashion industry is undoubtedly one of the major perpetrators and it is an industry that garners a lot of attention and scrutiny from media and consumers alike. Going after this industry at the start was a smart move because it definitely shone a bright light into the world of corporate pollution and got people behind the Detox movement. The detox campaign may not solve the entire issue of corporate pollution, but it definitely addresses a large piece of the puzzle.

Although I think that Greenpeace’s campaign was good and was very strategic, I think that they could have definitely made some improvements. I think that publicly shaming and protesting the clothing companies that pollute was a great way to grab their attention and generate change. However, that was generally the extent to which Greenpeace went. They relied upon public pressure and corporate response to do the real work. Greenpeace wants the companies to commit to the Detox program, but it does not do anything to ensure the detoxing actually happens. ¬†Similar to what Jason Clay of WWF explained in his TED Talk, I think it would be a much more effective campaign or movement, if Greenpeace played an active role in changing a clothing company’s operations. I think it would have been much more effective for Greenpeace and the clothing company if both sides worked together on the issue, rather than what’s currently happening. I assume that Greenpeace has a plethora of knowledge to improve the current processes of the fashion industry and they should share that knowledge with the companies. What’s currently happening is like a teacher telling a student that they did a math problem wrong, but then not teaching them how to correct the problem.

For me, this campaign is a good start, but I really think that Greenpeace needs to be more of a working partner, instead of just being a whistleblower. It would make the process much more successful for everyone involved, instead of creating animosity between Greenpeace and the companies they are shaming.


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