A recent report from Greenpeace has released information that a Chinese company working with chains such as Nike, Abercrombie, Adidas and Puma is releasing toxic, hormone-disrupting chemicals in the country’s major waterways. This report has called into question the corporate and global reponsibility of these companies.
There have been several high-profile scandals regarding pollution at Chinese firms that are suppliers for multinational corporations. Chinese environmental activists claim these cases are a depiction of the hypocrisy among Western outsourcers, who advertise high safety standards and portray a green image as a way to comfort rich consumers at home who purchase their products – but continue to trade with firms that have very low environmental standards.
While the chemicals found in China’s water were discovered in small quantities, they are hard to break down and accumulate to dangerous levels throughout nature. Despite the fact that the chemicals are not banned in China, they are banned in Europe and many other countries.
Clothing companies aren’t the only corporations caught in the middle of Chinese environmental scandals. A group of environmentalists in China conducted research last year discovering that “polluting and poisoning” companies were part of Apple’s supply chain.
With China as the leading textile exporter since 1995, many companies in the United States and other countries find themselves trapped in the middle of some hasty environmental and ethical decisions. While companies may claim to have few options in relation to sourcing inexpensive supplies, do you think they should begin taking larger measures to make sure they set a positive example and lead ethical business practices?
How much does it bother you that the products you may buy from some big brands are supplied by companies with very low environmental standards?