In today's world with its vast and mind-boggling array of consumer products we have no choice but to be educated and vigilant with our daily purchases.
We are almost universally aware that conventional produce may be grown with hazardous chemicals, that lead may be in our lipsticks, BPA in baby bottles and soup cans, and that our fish may contain a high level of mercury content.
In reality, what we need to be looking at is the entire chain of supply when we are deciding what products to buy. Turning our attention to the fashion world, there are many companies that we need to look at before we pick up a t- shirt. Toxins can be found in the supply chain of most garments.
A Greenpeace investigation released late last year revealed the presence of a hormone-disrupting phthalate in an item of Victoria's Secret underwear at levels that would have led to the product being banned in the EU had it been a toy.
Due to consumer pressure, as well as the work of Greenpeace, Limited Brands', parent company of Victoria's Secret, took the first important step to tackle this issue. It includes an explicit process to ensure the total elimination of both phthalates and perfluorinated chemicals (another hormone-disrupting chemical group of high concern) long before the agreed to 2020 deadline.
2013 will also see the brand release pollution data from 80% of its global supply chain, further accelerating the transparency revolution that is taking place in the sector due to Greenpeace's Detox campaign, and providing those people living near manufacturing facilities with information about what is being discharged into their local water supplies.
Uniqlo, Japan's leading international casual wear brand, begins the new year with a public commitment to eliminate all releases of hazardous chemicals throughout its entire global supply chain and products by 2020.
This decision comes just a month after Zara, Mango, Esprit and Levi's announced similar individual commitments, responding to waves of pressure from activists and consumers around the world.
By acting together we have the power to make the changes we need to insure that our planet remains intact for the next seven generations. Be a part of the solution.
Photo: Greenpeace Frankfurt