Nike, Puma, Other Giants Accused of Importing from Chinese Polluter

by | Jul 14, 2011

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Adidas, Nike, Puma and Calvin Klein are among some of the brands importing materials from a Chinese conglomerate responsible for the pollution of rivers, according to a report released by environmental group Greenpeace.

Dirty Laundry focuses on the Youngor Group, China’s biggest integrated textile firm, which Greenpeace says was found to be discharging a range of hazardous and persistent chemicals with hormone-disrupting properties.

As part of the investigations, Greenpeace also uncovered links between these polluting facilities and a number of major clothing, fashion and sportswear brands. Notably, the international brands Abercrombie & Fitch, Adidas, Bauer Hockey, Calvin Klein, Converse, Cortefiel, H&M, Lacoste, Nike, Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation and Puma, and the Chinese brands Li Ning, Meters/bonwe and Youngor, have all had products manufactured at the facilities, Greenpeace says.

“None of the corporations mentioned in our report have a comprehensive, publicly available policy that ensures that their suppliers are eliminating hazardous chemicals from their supply chain,” Greenpeace’s Li Yifang told reporters at the report’s launch, Reuters said. “So we believe they are perpetuating toxic pollution.”

She said that samples taken from the facilities contained heavy metals and alkylphenols and perfluorinated chemicals, which are restricted in the United States and across the European Union.

“These companies are doing business with a polluter. We are not accusing them of being evil, we are challenging them to take the lead on eliminating toxins,” Li Yifang added. “There is no safety limit for these chemicals because they accumulate. So we ask Nike and the others to help phase them out over a reasonable time frame. That would send a signal to the whole industry.”

“We take the problem which Greenpeace raised seriously, and we will work with Greenpeace to find a solution,” Youngor told Greenpeace in statement, according to Reuters.

Bauer Hockey, Converse, Cortefiel, H&M, Nike and Puma confirmed their connections with the manufacturer but told Greenpeace that they make no use of the “wet processes” of the Youngor Group for the production of their garments.

Another facility highlighted in the report, but not run by Youngor, is the Well Dyeing Factory in Zhongshan, Guangdong Province, which is said to have released a range of heavy metals, including chromium and copper, in addition to alkylphenols, nonylphenols and other chemicals.

Greenpeace alleges that the factory often discharged such pollution at night in a bid to avoid scrutiny from the authorities.

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