H&M, Zara, M&S and others found buying from highly polluting factories in Asia
H&M, Zara, M&S and others found buying from highly polluting factories in Asia.
Global fashion brands including H&M, Zara and Marks & Spencer are buying material produced in factories that devastate peoples’ health in Indonesia, China and India, a new investigation has found.
Toxic run-off from the manufacture of viscose, a supposedly environmentally friendly fibre used to make clothes, is contaminating water supplies and has been linked to increased risk of cancer.
Viscose is a plant-based fibre which means it is sometimes promoted as an ethical choice for consumers.
However, most viscose is currently produced using a highly chemical-intensive process, according to the campaign group the Changing Markets Foundation.
In one instance in West Java, Indonesia, locals were found washing viscose products in the river, directly exposing themselves to toxic chemicals contained in the fibre.
Near another plant in Jiangxi, China, viscose production had apparently turned the water of the Poyang Lake black, killing fish and shrimps, and stunting crop growth.
Unless the garment industry acts to clean up production the damage caused by viscose production will get worse, according to the report.
The organisation calculates that 10 companies control around 70 per cent of global viscose production, meaning there is a “clear opportunity for rapid and transformational change across the sector”.