‘Dirty Fashion’ report reveals pollution in big brands’ supply chains

Some of the world’s biggest fashion brands are using a fibre whose production can be highly dangerous and polluting, new research shows.
Dirty Fashion a report published last week by the Changing Markets Foundation reveals that fashion brands including H&M, Zara and Marks & Spencer, are buying viscose from highly polluting factories in Asia to use in their clothes.
Villagers have stopped drinking contaminated groundwater and in some cases they can no longer swim or fish in local rivers and lakes.
The Changing Markets investigation in China focused on factories in the eastern provinces of Hebei, Jianxi and Shandong.
Major brands, such as H&M, Zara, Tesco and M&S were found to be buying from some of the factories investigated.
At a site in Madhya Pradesh, India, villagers reported devastating impacts on health, including cases of cancer and birth deformities suspected to be caused by industrial pollution in their water supply.
They are located downstream from one of the world’s largest producers of viscose, Grasim Industries, owned by multinational conglomerate Aditya Birla Group, which is selling its viscose to H&M, Inditex, Asos, Next, United Colours of Benetton, Burton, Docker’s and Levi’s – to name just a few.
The viscose industry is also polluting rivers in Indonesia.
Villagers were found washing intermediary viscose products in the river on behalf of manufacturers, directly exposing themselves to toxic chemicals contained in the fibre and adding to the waterway’s already considerable pollution load.
This dialogue can be expanded to include water pollution and chemical use in viscose manufacturing.

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