Greenpeace Puts Burberry to Shame [Video]


Greenpeace puts Burberry to shame with its Detox campaign which proves that the brand’s child wear collection contains “hazardous chemicals” that might harm children’s health in the long run. The NGO took the metallic shirt worn by Romeo Beckham in the luxury fashion house’s spring/summer 2013 campaign to the laboratory and found out that it contained a high level of “little monsters,” namely nonylphenol ethoxylates. This man-made chemical is mainly used in detergents and when it naturally transforms into nonylphenols, it can be not only toxic, but also hormonally disruptive.

Although at first Burberry stated that its products “are safe and fully adhere to international environment and safety standards,” Greenpeace put it to shame when it mobilized people from all walks of life to pressure the famous brand. Greenpeace’s thorough campaign didn’t start with Burberry and it is not going to end now that the luxury fashion house decided to embrace the NGO’s requests.

Greenpeace tested child wear collections from plenty of world-renowned brands and discovered that 12 of them “showed little distinction between the levels of hazardous chemicals in clothing made for children.” There were 82 items purchased from authorized dealers in 25 countries that were made in over 12 distinctive regions. The findings included Phtalates, a chemical which used to be found in children’s toys but was forbidden because of hormonal and toxicity effects, Nonylphenol ethoxylates, a chemical found in detergents banned because of its negative impact on hormonal function and Organotins, fungicides found in the majority of shoe samples.

In order to educate both parents and children with regard to the dangers of these chemicals, Greenpeace came up with a visual story entitled A Little Story About the Monsters in Your Closet.

After putting Burberry to shame, Greenpeace announced that the luxury fashion house decided to eliminate the use of hazardous chemicals from all of its supply chain by January 1, 2020. Burberry’s decision comes after two weeks of intense campaigning and joins fellow brands Valentino, Zara and Mango.

Ilze Smit, Greenpeace International’s Detox campaigner mentioned that Burberry’s decision to join the NGO’s campaign “opens a new chapter in the story of toxic-free fashion.” The luxury fashion house stated that the first step is to prioritize apparel, which means that by the end of June 2014 Burberry will start revealing its suppliers’ chemical discharges “in the global South” and in two years from the first self-imposed deadline, the company will eliminate all chemicals in its supply chain.

“Burberry’s move raises the bar for the luxury sector,” Smit said.

Smit also believes that the timing of Burberry’s commitment to Detox campaign is very good because it comes right before Fashion Weeks. As a result, other household names like Gucci, Louis Vuitton or Versace could follow this trend simply because they might “risk getting left behind.”

Greenpeace’s latest activity was not concentrated on putting Burberry to shame, but on convincing it along with other fashion brands to eliminate the use of hazardous chemicals. Apart from fashion and retail, the success stories this NGO accomplished this week are the following: convince Shell to stop Arctic drilling in 2014 and LÓreal  to cease its role in deforestation by 2020. Although Disney has not accepted the challenge to enter the Detox campaign yet, Greenpeace hopes that having Burberry on board is equivalent to a new beginning in toxic-free fashion, especially when it comes to children’s clothing.

By Gabriela Motroc

Brand Channel

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