In its 2016 Detox Catwalk list, Greenpeace singled out three apparel firms for being “ahead of the curve and on track to meet their commitments” to eliminate hazardous chemicals by 2020.

The rundown examines how well-prepared companies that have committed to Greenpeace’s Detox 2020 campaign are to actually achieving that goal. In its third installment, the Detox Catwalk list zeroed in on implementation. Inditex, Benetton and H&M were the only companies to rank as “Avant-Garde.” Greenpeace claimed these companies are “leading the industry toward a toxic-free future with credible timelines, concrete actions and on-the-ground implementation.”

Four other brands didn’t measure up quite so well and were tagged as a “Faux Pas” for “not yet accepting responsibility for their hazardous chemical pollution and implementing the urgent steps needed to achieve the goal of eliminating hazardous chemicals by 2020.” Esprit, Limited Brands, Li-Ning and Nike are the companies that “originally made a Detox commitment but are currently heading in the wrong direction, failing to take individual responsibility for their supply chain’s hazardous chemical pollution,” according to Greenpeace.

An Esprit spokeswoman said Monday that the company banned PFCs from its supply chain in 2014, but it is mentioned with brands that have not. And having landed in the top ranks in the past two Greenpeace Detox Catwalks, “this year’s assessment is obviously very disappointing” for Esprit, she said.

“Overall, we would like to emphasize that we at Esprit — as a member of the Textile Alliance [Textilbündnis] and a member of the industry association ZDHC [Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals] — continuously engage in making our supply chain as environmentally friendly as possible. All of our products are intensively tested for potential pollutants and to ensure compliance with legal limits of chemicals. This is why our Esprit consumers can enjoy our product without hesitation. Not for nothing, Esprit fashion is about feeling good — this includes the good feeling when you are aware of the safe production conditions,” she said.

Acknowledging that Esprit “needs to do more of our homework in the area of transparency,” the company spokeswoman said, “we are working with the ZDHC to build up an appropriate platform to give access to comprehensive supplier information.”

A Nike spokesman said the company has “focused on addressing the potential use of hazardous chemicals within its supply chain for over 20 years,” listing numerous examples. He said the company phased out the use of PFCs, which provide water repellency and durability in high performance outdoor products from Nike and affiliate brand products by January 1, 2015. In addition, “We collaborated with Dutch start-up DyeCoo Textiles System to develop the first commercially available textile dyeing machines that use no water.”

A spokeswoman at Limited Brands declined comment Monday, and executives at Li-Ning did not respond immediately for comment Monday.

Twelve other companies, which represent the majority of the rankings — fell into the “Evolution Mode,” as in improvement is needed in two to three assessment areas. Described as having made progress implementing their plans, but needing to step up their efforts to reach the 2020 Detox goal were — C&A, Fast Retailing, G-Star, Mango, Miroglio, Valentino, Adidas, Burberry, Levi’s, Primark, Puma and M&S.

Launched in 2011, the Detox campaign has commitments from 76 international retailers, brands and suppliers. Moving forward, Greenpeace aims to foster more collaboration like the one in Italy’s Prato region where 42 companies have teamed up. But the Detox Catwalk report noted that consumers’ addiction to fast fashion and increasing rate that clothes are made, bought, used and thrown away is ramping up the environmental impacts of fashion. Greenpeace will be pushing for more profound changes to “close and slow the loop.”

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