Coop is committed to reducing chemicals in textile production
Coop is the first Swiss company to sign a declaration of intent with Greenpeace with the aim of reducing hazardous chemicals in textile production by 2020.
Greenpeace Detox campaign
The environmental organization Greenpeace has been campaigning for the reduction of hazardous chemicals in textile production for many years. Its Detox campaign focuses on combating water and soil pollution, together with the effects on the health of employees in production countries.
What does Coop do?
By signing the Detox Commitment, Coop is demonstrating its commitment to fair, environmentally friendly textile production. In the field of all own-label textile brands, Coop is implementing a number of different measures to reduce the use of hazardous chemicals and to reduce water and soil pollution associated with the use of chemicals.
1. Guideline on Textiles and Leather
Coop adopted the Guideline on Textiles and Leather in November 2013. This governs the social, environmental and toxicological requirements of Coop own-label textile and leather brands. This minimum standard applies to both the cultivation of raw textile materials and the subsequent processing and transparency of the supply chains. Guideline on Textiles and Leather
2. Blacklist for the use of chemicals
Banned chemicals which must no longer be used in textile and leather production across the entire supply chain for Coop own-label brands from 2020 are recorded in a blacklist. This covers all 11 groups of chemicals that Greenpeace deems hazardous. Coop's business partners are obliged to adhere to this blacklist and switch to using non-hazardous chemicals in textile production. The blacklist is regularly updated in line with the latest information.
Chemical blacklist (MRSL – Manufacturing Restricted Substances List)
3. Measuring environmental data from Coop suppliers
To check compliance with the requirements and record annual progress, Coop intends to collect environmental data from its suppliers. This includes checking wastewater and sewage sludge for undesirable chemicals on the blacklist, in particular from dye works and printers (suppliers). The audits will be carried out by an external company. Coop will also offer further guidance to the suppliers with regard to the chemical switchover, supporting them and raising awareness through training measures, for instance.
4. Publishing the environmental data in the IPE database
The results of the environmental tests from key Coop suppliers are to be published in a publicly accessibly database. This IPE database will be operated by the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE), a partner organization of Greenpeace, and will make the level of chemicals used by Coop's suppliers transparent.
Coop did not manage to achieve the initial goal of publishing the data of 15 suppliers in the database by 2013. Following the repositioning of its own-label range, Coop will be working with fewer suppliers in 2015. It also takes a great deal of persuasion to convince suppliers of the merits of having their data published. First of all, Coop does not work directly with them, but via the respective manufacturers. And secondly, Coop is a small customer in global terms and therefore has little leverage. This is where the aforementioned training measures come in.
The aim is for Coop to be able to publish the environmental data of its major suppliers (these cover 80% of own-label turnover) in the IPE database by the end of 2016. The environmental data of the first two businesses will be published in 2014. The data of a further four businesses are set to be published in 2015 and 2016.
IPE database (in English)
5. Product testing at product level
Coop carries out regular random checks across the textile range and tests the products for hazardous chemicals. Coop has carried out three product tests to date. The fourth will take place early in 2015.
- First product test / Autumn 2013: (50 samples from 24 suppliers, Brief report)
- Second product test / Spring 2014: (52 samples from 32 suppliers, Brief report)
- Third product test / Autumn 2014: (87 samples from the entire range, Brief report)
6. Textiles and Leather working group, Chemicals specialist team and onsite support
The progress and challenges of implementing the Guideline are discussed on a regular basis (at least four times a year) by the Textiles and Leather working group, who identify and implement necessary measures. The group comprises specialists from Purchasing, Quality Assurance, Sustainability and Coop Naturaline.
The Chemicals specialist team is made up of Coop inhouse employees with a scientific background. This team deals specifically with matters relating to chemical use, suppliers' environmental data, updating the blacklist, and implementing and evaluating the product tests at the product level.
The main interface between the specialists and Coop's suppliers is the Coop subsidiary, Eurogroup Far East, in Hong Kong. Eurogroup employees are charged with the sensitive task of convincing suppliers and thus help to implement the declaration of intent at the respective locations.
Long-term commitment by Coop
Coop Naturaline, Coop's own-label sustainability brand, stands for fair and environmentally friendly textile production and has proven a huge success over the past 20 years. The supply chains are transparent, the use of chemicals is very tightly regulated, and hazardous chemicals are prohibited in all stages of production. An independent monitoring body reviews the various processes on a regular basis.
Go to Coop Naturaline
Since 2012, Coop has regulated the use of chemicals that are classified as hazardous according to recognized EU institutions (ECHA: European Chemicals Agency) in its Guideline on Sustainable Sourcing.