Reducing Chemicals Addressing hazardous discharge
Chemicals are used throughout the production cycle of most garments, from fabric dyeing to creating unique finishes. According to some estimates, the global apparel industry accounts for 25% of manufacturing chemical usage. The discharge of these chemicals threatens local water sources; contamination could affect people living in surrounding communities.
We are addressing chemical use and discharge within our supply chain.
We have set an ambitious goal: to work toward zero discharge of hazardous chemicals in our supply chain by 2020.
Because we know certain chemicals can be harmful to consumers, in 2008, we developed a Restricted Substance List (RSL) that dictates which chemicals must not be used to produce our clothing. We base this list on both existing and developing legislation as well as toxicity risk assessments. As part of our ongoing monitoring process, we have an independent, accredited, third-party lab test for restricted chemicals in our finished products. If products do not meet applicable legal chemical requirements and regulations, they will not be sold or must be remade to meet our compliance standards. If a supplier’s product is shown to have elevated levels of these chemicals, we provide test results and guidance to help the supplier remediate its usage of these chemicals and educate the supplier on our chemical policy.
Looking beyond our initial chemicals management program, we are partnering to address the impact of chemicals used in our supply chain through the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) program . In 2014, ZDHC established a strengthened industry-wide standard for restricted substances with an expanded Material Restricted Substance List (MRSL) that aims to reduce worker exposure to chemicals and reduce chemical impacts on wastewater. We have communicated this list to the suppliers, facilities and mills that make our clothing, and we have set an ambitious goal: to work toward zero discharge of hazardous chemicals in our supply chain by 2020.