Discount retailer Lidl has pledged to eliminate all hazardous chemicals from its textile production by 1 January, 2020 - a move that has been welcomed by environmental pressure group Greenpeace. 

The news comes after Greenpeace criticised the German company in a discount store shopping guide, finding weaknesses in raw materials, textile recycling and social production standards.

Lidl will phase out hazardous pollutants such as alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEs) by the end of June 2016, and all per- and polyfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) by July 2017.

In an effort to make its supply chain in Asia and the rest of the world more transparent, 80% of the retailer’s wet-process suppliers will reveal waste water data by the end of 2015.

The commitment applies to all apparel and footwear products, including textile and leather.

“The global retail giant Lidl takes a huge first step forward,” said Manfred Santen, detox campaigner at Greenpeace Germany.

“Now discounters like Aldi, Penny, Tesco, Carrefour and Wal-Mart have to clean up their production, too.”

So far, 21 fashion businesses and six suppliers have pledged to clean up their production by 1 January, 2020, in line with Greenpeace’s Detox campaign.