Plants subcontracted by Adidas, Nike and Puma were among accused of polluting rivers in China with toxic, hormone-disrupting chemicals banned in Europe and elsewhere, according to a report from environment group Greenpeace.
Other companies identified in the report were Calvin Klein, Lacoste, Abercrombie and Fitch and China’s Li Ning.
The year-long investigation focused on two major Chinese suppliers, the Youngor Textile Complex in Ningbo on the Yangtze River Delta and the Well Dyeing Factory in the Pearl River Delta near Hong Kong.
All the brands mentioned in the report have confirmed they source products from one of the two Chinese suppliers, Greenpeace said.
Greenpeace’s Li Yifang said China had yet to implement a systematic chemicals management policy, but responsibility must also lie with global firms outsourcing to China to cut costs.
“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. So, we believe they are perpetuating toxic pollution,” she told reporters at the report’s launch, according to Reuters.
Greenpeace’s Li said samples taken from the wastewater discharges from the two facilities revealed the presence of heavy metals and hazardous, hormone-disrupting substances such as alkylphenols and perfluorinated chemicals.
“We take the problem which Greenpeace raised seriously, and we will work with Greenpeace to find a solution,” Youngor said in a statement provided to the environmental group.
Nike, Puma and Adidas said the companies only run cut-and-sew facilities, which does not warrant the use of chemicals, according to the Reuters report.