The movement towards toxin-free clothing has gained a full head of stream as more and more compaines have taken the pledge to eliminate potentially harmful substances from their clothing. I've written earlier about the example set by the international apparel company Burberry by agreeing to remove all toxins from their products, but an even more significant example might be the Spanish retailer Zara. However, this change didn't occur without resistance. And only after intense pressure was applied by consumers and activists did the company finally get on board.
Based in Arteixo, Galicia, Zara was singled out by Greenpeace in their 2012 report "Toxic Threads: The Big Fashion Stitch-up" for their abnormal amount of pollutants in clothing (compared to other companies). Roughly 60% of their clothes were found to contain harmful products including some chemicals that are thought to cause cancer.
The company refused to alter its manufacturing at first, resulting in protests against the company in locations all over the globe (mostly led by Greenpeace). Added to this was an intense social networking campaign to put pressure on Zara. Only after 9 days of tough protesting plus the efforts of people on Facebook and other sites did the company finally agree to a new approach.
Just like Burberry, Zara has now pledged to eliminate all toxins from their clothing by 2020. This demonstrates the immense effect that potential consumers can have on a company's policies. Some went directly to the company to demand change, others simply took to Twitter. In the end, the biggest polluter of dangerous chemicals in clothing agreed to continue the trend of phasing out these dangerous chemicals as a result of the actions of activists and consumers. And now added to the ranks of Burberry and Zara are companies like Nike, Adidas, H & M, Esprit, Mango, Primark, and others who have taken this pledge against potentially dangerous toxins. So if consumers are willing to demand it, more companies, such as Levi's, could be convinced to take a stand.
Toxic Threads: The Big Fashion Stitch-Up
Zara Yields Under Pressure
Greenpeace Takes Action
Esprit Also Goes Toxic-Free
Primark Joins the Toxic-Free Trend
Zara's Wikipedia Page