Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is to eliminate hazardous chemicals by 2020

Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is to eliminate hazardous chemicals by 2020

Fast Retailing Co, operator of the Uniqlo casual clothing chain and Asia's biggest global fashion brand, is to eliminate hazardous chemicals from its entire global supply chain and products by 2020.

The pledge follows pressure from environmental group Greenpeace, and means the company joins Spanish retail giant Inditex, operator of the Zara fashion chain, Adidas, C&A, H&M, Levi Strauss, Nike, Puma, M&S and H&M in committing to the so-called "Detox challenge".

"Uniqlo recognises clean water as a critical global issue, and is proud to join Greenpeace in its campaign to eliminate hazardous chemical use," said Yukihiro Nitta, Fast Retailing group executive officer and executive in charge of corporate social responsibility.

The company said it will also disclose discharge data from at least 80% of its global suppliers (including all their facilities) in 2013.

The commitment covers all of the brands in the Fast Retailing Group, which include Uniqlo, Comptoir des Cotonniers, Princesse TamTam, GU and Theory, which between them have over 2000 stores.

Fast Retailing Group is now the twelfth global corporation to make a commitment to clean up its supply chain and products since Greenpeace launched its Detox campaign in 2011.

It is also the eighth to provide a concrete date for when it will have eliminated all perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), which are used to make textile and leather products both water and stain-proof.

But the retailer stresses cooperation across the entire apparel industry is key to addressing the issue of eliminating the release of hazardous chemicals.

"By working with stakeholders, we will take the lead in addressing these concerns, so we can help to reduce the impact that our industry has on the environment," it says.