Italian high-end textile manufacturer Canepa SpA has made a commitment to eliminate all hazardous chemicals from its products and supply chain by 2020 - becoming, it claims, the first textile company in the world to join Greenpeace's Detox campaign.

Signatories who have already committed to the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) include major retail, sportswear and luxury brands such as Adidas, C&AEsprit, G-Star Raw, H&MInditex, Jack Wolfskin, Levi Strauss, Li Ning, M&SNew BalanceNike, and Puma.

But until now, there were no public commitments by textile manufacturers, Como-based Canepa says.

"We can proudly say that with our commitment, we are setting a new standard for the Made in Italy industry," says company owner Elisabetta Canepa.

"Being an industry leader today means adding an extra element of quality to our fabrics, that of sustainability. We want to contribute to the growth of environmentally-friendly fashion by helping top brands produce the beautiful clothes that only they can, but with the added value of using our fabrics, which do not pollute precious resources such as water."

For Canepa, the commitment to go beyond legislative guidelines and instead press ahead with the total elimination of all toxic substances reflects the company's wider sustainability efforts.

Canepa Evolution, the company's research arm, has developed and implemented new technological processes with its Save the Water, Kitotex and methacrylamide-free projects, which help eliminate some substances normally used in textile preparation processes such as polyvinyl alcohol and methacrylamide and have greatly reduced the use of bleaching agents and detergents.

The implementation of these technologies also significantly reduces water use per kg of fabric to just 20 litres, compared with the 300 litres used in traditional technologies.