222,359 of 250,000 signatures

To Zara, H&M and other European fashion giants

The clothes you sell have been directly linked to devastating air and water pollution at viscose factories in Asia. As customers across Europe, we demand that you immediately commit to a zero pollution policy and timeline, work with producers to transition to clean technologies, and stop purchasing from producers who fail to comply.

Why is this important?

H&M and Zara have just been linked to devastating pollution in Asia. The clothes many Europeans love to buy and wear are made with fabrics from factories that dump untreated, toxic water directly into rivers and streams [1]. And while they say they are concerned, they haven’t committed to stop sourcing from these deadly factories if the pollution continues.

Investigators who visited these factories knew straight away that something was seriously wrong. Water quality tests and conversations with locals confirmed the truth. These factories are devastating local environments and communities. The worst thing is, it doesn’t have to be this way. Clean production technologies already exist and could be widely implemented, if brands like H&M and Zara demanded them. Brands can play a key role in this process by demanding that viscose companies clean up their act and by offering them support in transitioning towards more sustainable production processes.

The factories implicated are huge — they include ten of the biggest global factories in the fabric supply chain and spread across China, India and Indonesia. And companies like H&M and Zara are some of their biggest customers.

The fabric involved is called viscose, a plant-based fibre that’s an increasingly popular alternative to cotton or synthetic products. It’s often pitched to consumers as a more “sustainable” option — and it could be. But the viscose that H&M and Zara are buying is anything but sustainable. It’s the result of a hugely chemical intensive process with no real environmental controls. That means dangerous chemicals and noxious gases released into the environment way in excess of recommended levels.

At factory after factory, workers and local residents told investigators stories of sick friends and family, undrinkable water, and devastated fisheries. Residents at one factory in China said that they didn’t even dare to feed the dead fish to their pigs due to the levels of contamination. Water quality tests confirmed these stories, often finding pollutants far in excess of the weak legal limits that do exist.

This is entirely within our power to change. H&M and Zara are already sensitive to the media coverage this campaign has received. Now, they need to hear from us. It’s worked before — when thousands of workers died in Bangladesh producing clothes for fashion giants, H&M and Zara signed a landmark accord following consumer pressure. Let's do it one more time!

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/jun/13/hm-zara-marks-spencer-linked-polluting-viscose-factories-asia-fashion

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/h-and-m-zara-marks-spencer-clothes-supply-chain-pollution-factories-asia-a7786716.html

http://changingmarkets.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/CHANGING_MARKETS_DIRTY_FASHION_REPORT_SPREAD_WEB.pdf

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