Blog: Leonie BarrieLevi's chemicals phase-out pledge

Leonie Barrie | 17 December 2012

Levi Strauss, the world's largest jeans manufacturer, has ended the year with a pledge to phase out hazardous chemicals from its supply chain by 2020, following pressure from environmental group Greenpeace.

The move means the company joins Spanish retail giant Inditex, operator of the Zara fashion chain, Adidas, C&A, H&M, Nike, Puma, M&S and H&M in committing to the so-called "Detox challenge".

Levi Strauss will require its five largest suppliers in countries like China and Mexico to disclose pollution data by the end of June 2013. It also says it will change its strategy away from managing hazardous chemicals to eliminating them altogether.

Calls continue to be made for global apparel buyers, importers and other industry stakeholders to treat the recent garment factory fire in Bangladesh as a wake-up call to work together to establish a sustainable factory model with improved worker safety.

US lawmakers have also joined the debate, following news that Tazreen Fashion was making apparel bearing US Marine Corps logos for a US Government contractor. They want President Obama to take action to ensure clothing imported into the US is made in factories that protect their workforce.

A growing number of major retailers including H&M, Tesco and Primark are sourcing clothing from Ethiopia, as the country's industry undergoes a major expansion programme. But while exports jumped 28% in the last year, this still falls a long way short of industry targets.

And Delta Galil USA, a subsidiary of Israel-based apparel maker Delta Galil Industries, is strengthening its branded portfolio with the acquisition of the LittleMissMatched children's line.

But as part of part of an overhaul of its business, German sportswear maker Puma is to part company with chief executive Franz Koch and chief supply chain officer Reiner Seiz.

Global economic turmoil continued to impact on the apparel industry in 2012, and in all sectors, from retailing to manufacturing and sourcing, winners and losers were not hard to find. just-style's review of the year tracks those for whom 2012 will be memorable in more ways than one, and also takes a look at some of the more unusual stories hitting the headlines.


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