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A recent report by Green America scores apparel companies on their commitment to eco-consciousness and ethicality, with mixed results.

Report: Apparel Industry Commitment to Sustainability Lukewarm


WASHINGTON—A recent report by Green America scores apparel companies on their commitment to eco-consciousness and ethicality, with mixed results. Titled “Toxic Textiles,” the report reviews 14 major apparel clothing companies.

To gauge each company’s response to things like chemical management, sustainability, and supply chain transparency, the report uses a scorecard and discusses the following criteria:

  • Above Average: Green America reports that “none of the major brands” in its report were found to be “true environmental or social leaders.”
  • Average/Below Average: Companies classified as “behind the curve, but not the worst.” The organization contests that these companies often claim to have policies in place to address said issues, but fail to provide details.
  • Fail: Designated as companies that indicate “little to no corporate policy whatsoever” on initiatives like chemical management, factory safety and transparency, water management, or waste/recycling.
  • Token Plans/Brands: Green America also addresses companies that often incorporate a single policy or one brand line to “address a single issue in the supply chain and use it to claim overall sustainability.” 
  • Greenwashing: “Many apparel companies claim to have policies addressing environmental or labor issues but have not followed through with specific plans, goals, metrics, or timelines,” the non-profit group contends.
  • Transparency Still Lacking: According to Green America, only four companies (Target, VF Corporation, Nike, and Gap) identify and restrict chemicals used in manufacturing and found in the final consumer product. Meanwhile, only six (Target, VF, Nike, Gap, Ascena, and Abercrombie and Fitch) reportedly list their supplier factories. 

Companies like Target, Nike, and VF Corporation sit in the report’s “Above Average” ranks, while others such as J. Crew and Forever 21  yield a “Fail” score, according to Green America.

To learn more about the full report, visit https://www.greenamerica.org/green-americas-2019-toxic-textile-report.

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