Levi Strauss, leading American clothing company, has come up with a list of ‘preferred substances’ for its suppliers, which will be both human-friendly and environment-friendly.
This is part of the company’s Screened Chemistry Programme, which determines the effect of chemicals used in the finishing process of products on human health as well as the environment in general.
Sharing the vision behind the initiative, Vice-President of Technical Innovation Bart Sights says, “Our goal was to create a framework for screening chemicals against human health and environmental toxicity hazard endpoints, to identify best-in-class chemicals or better alternatives,”
The company uses two programmes for chemical screening — GreenScreen and the US EPA’s Safer Choices Programme for determining substances suitable for use. Both methods are based on chemical hazard assessment and focus on a variety of human health and environmental endpoints.
Once the company’s screening programme is fully operational, it is expected that Levi’s suppliers will transition to using the preferred chemicals. The programme aims to encourage industry-wide uptake of chemical screening, by working with the ZDHC group, an industry initiative made up of apparel and retailer brands to achieve the goal of zero discharge of hazardous chemicals by 2020.
The company is also committed to Greenpeace’s Detox campaign to eliminate all release of hazardous chemicals, throughout its supply chain, by 2020.
A similar example is that of Nike, which in 2010 introduced a Sustainable Chemistry Guidance (SCG) section to its Restricted Substances List (RSL) that highlights “positive” chemistry.