Italian textile manufacturer Canepa recently announced it has accepted the challenge set by Greenpeace during fashion week last February to create clean and sustainable fashion. The company voluntarily signed up to abide by the guidelines set forth in the Detox Solution Commitment, which aims to abolish the toxic chemicals currently used in the fashion industry by 2020. The challenge has already been accepted by a host of major retail, sportswear and luxury brands — including H&M, Mango, Patagonia and adidas — but this is the first public commitment made by a textile manufacturer.
“We can proudly say that with our commitment, we are setting a new standard for the Made in Italy industry,” says Elisabetta Canepa, owner of Canepa SpA, San Fermo della Battaglia (Como). ”Being an industry leader today means adding an extra element of quality to our fabrics, that of sustainability. We want to contribute to the growth of environmentally friendly fashion by helping top brands produce the beautiful clothes that only they can but with the added value of using our fabrics, which do not pollute precious resources such as water.”
Greenpeace applauded the commitment, saying, “This is a victory in particular for the local communities around the world that are severely affected by polluted water sources. They have the right to know what is being released into the environment they live in.”
Canepa, whose luxury fabrics are used for everything from clothing to household textiles, says the commitment to go beyond mere legislative guidelines and strive for the total elimination of all toxic substances as set out in the Detox Solution Commitment is just one step on the path towards its goal of creating sustainable and environmentally friendly fashion. Canepa Evolution, the company’s research branch, has developed and implemented significant technological processes with its SAVEtheWATER®, Kitotex® and Methacrylamide-free projects, which help eliminate some substances normally used in the textile preparation processes — such as polyvinyl alcohol and methacrylamide — and have greatly reduced the use of bleaching agents and detergents. The implementation of these technologies also significantly reduces the use of water: In the case of SAVEtheWATER and Kitotex, water usage per kg of fabric is reduced to just 20 litres compared to the 300 litres used in traditional technologies.
Canepa says the environmentally friendly improvements made possible with the above technologies is helping the company abide by its commitment of “more quality, less water” when producing its fabrics.
Launched in July 2011, Greenpeace’s Detox campaign has already convinced 17 international brands including Valentino, Levi’s and Zara to commit to detox, mobilizing over a half a million activists, fashionistas, bloggers and designers united by the belief that beautiful fashion can be created without great cost to the Earth. In its most recent campaign report, “Toxic Threads: Polluting Paradise,” Greenpeace called out Gap, Inc. for its relationship with PT Gistex Group, a textile manufacturer the NGO found to be dumping industrial wastewater containing a cocktail of toxic and hazardous chemicals, and caustic water, directly into the Citarum River in West Java, Indonesia. The report challenges Gap to work with the supplier to eliminate the use and dumping of the polluting chemicals from its processes.