Supplier to Nike, Adidas, Puma, H&M and Lacoste accused of discharging dangerous chemicals into Chinese water systems
A Chinese conglomerate supplying Nike, Adidas, Puma and other leading brands has discharged hormone-disrupting chemicals and other toxins into the country’s major water systems, according to a new Greenpeace investigation that raises questions about corporate responsibility for the firms they do business with.
The environmental pressure group has also linked hazardous textile plants in the Yangtze and Pearl river deltas to Lacoste, H&M and half a dozen other international fashion brands despite many of those companies’ claims to set high environmental standards in their supply chains.
The allegations follow a series of high-profile pollution scandals at Chinese firms that provide materials for multinational corporations. Chinese environmental activists say these cases highlight the hypocrisy of western outsourcers who promise high safety standards for rich consumers at home even as they trade with firms that benefit from lax environmental regulations overseas.
In their one-year investigation into China‘s textile industry – the world’s largest, with 50,000 mills – Greenpeace campaigners collected samples from factory discharge pipes and sent them for analysis at laboratories at Exeter University and in the Netherlands. They discovered a range of persistent pollutants in the wastewater from two major plants.
The Youngor facility in Ningbo, near Shanghai, was found to have discharged nonylphenol, an endocrine disruptor that builds up in the food chain, perfluorinated chemicals, which can have an adverse effect on the liver and sperm counts, as well as a cocktail of other toxins.