Tesco will work with its supply chain to ensure zero discharge of hazardous chemicals by 2020

Tesco will work with its supply chain to ensure zero discharge of hazardous chemicals by 2020

UK supermarket retailer Tesco has committed to immediately begin the process of eliminating hazardous chemicals from its clothing supply chain, as well as releasing a complete list of its suppliers.

Tesco, which sells its F&F clothing brand in 2,300 stores trading out of 23 countries, says it will work with its complete supply chain to ensure zero discharge of hazardous chemicals into the environment by 2020 as part of the Greenpeace Detox-Campaign commitment.

The move is part of the retailer's goal to protect the environment by sourcing products sustainably and responsibly, and will see it eliminate 11 groups of hazardous substances from its F&F brand, including phthalates, brominated and chlorinated flame retardants, chlorinated solvents and heavy metals.

Tesco joins some 80 international brands and suppliers that have now committed to the ZDHC Campaign since its launch in 2011, including Marks & Spencer, H&M, Benetton, Levi Strauss & Co, Aldi, Lidl and Tchibo.

The retailer's individual Detox action plan includes increased transparency about which suppliers it uses and their performance in phasing out the use of hazardous chemicals. Part of that commitment will see Tesco shorten its list of suppliers, and only work with affordable and trusted mills.

"Our preferred mills use preferred chemistry," the retailer explains. "We aim to do business with fewer suppliers, so that our customer will benefit from improved consistency and quality. We regularly visit our fabric mills around the world to strengthen our relationships through training and workshops."

Tesco has put together a list of Restricted Substances in Textile, Leather and Footwear (RSiT) to help guide its supply chain on where the substances should be restricted, as well as mapping the chemical suppliers it uses.

The Greenpeace Detox Campaign, which was launched in 2011, now monitors around 15% of worldwide textile production.

"In only six years, forerunners of the textile sector went from total denial and opacity of their supply chain to transparency and the banning of all hazardous chemicals," says Kirsten Brodde, Greenpeace Germany's project lead of the Detox Campaign. "Tesco's commitment shows the rest of the industry that using hazardous chemicals is not an option anymore."