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Victoria’s Secret parent company Limited Brands and the Benetton Group have agreed to eliminate all hazardous chemicals from their supply chains and products by 2020 after pressure from Greenpeace to sign on to its Detox campaign. Greenpeace says today’s commitment from Limited Brands includes a process to stop using phthalates and perfluorinated chemicals in its clothing before the 2020 deadline. A 2012 Greenpeace investigation found high levels of a hormone-disrupting phthalate in Victoria’s Secret underwear. The Benetton Group, which owns brands such as Sisley, Playlife and the United Colors of Benetton, made its Detox commitment last week.
The denim maker’s commitment came just days after a Greenpeace investigation found textile suppliers for Levi’s, Zara and many other global clothing brands likely dump a wide range of hazardous chemicals into China’s wastewater systems. Greenpeace says other global brands including Calvin Klein, Gap and G Star Raw continue to ignore the issue and have yet to sign on the Detox campaign, which was launched in July 2011. Here at the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute we are heartened to learn of these commitments.
The compliance challenges that entities such as chemical, energy, or mining companies face are seemingly endless – and endlessly complex. Greenpeace is calling for consumer pressure, government action and improved corporate transparency after a new investigation found widespread toxic chemical residue in brand-name clothing from around the world. The report, released today, is a follow-up to Greenpeace’s earlier Detox campaign that examined the connection between worldwide textile production and water pollution. According to Greenpeace, Toxic Threads is the result of a scientific investigation that saw the group purchase 141 clothing items in 29 countries from authorized retailers, then test the garments for specific hazardous compounds. The study looked for toxic phthalates, NPEs (nonylphenol ethoxylates) and carcinogenic amines found in certain dyes. Of the garments tested, four were from Victoria’s Secret, including two bras and a camisole made in China and a pair of cotton underwear made in Sri Lanka. Phthalates are a chemical residue from plastisol, the rubbery plastic compound used to create logos and graphics on clothing and are believed to have an effect on the female reproductive system and early childhood development. Greenpeace is calling on fashion brands to commit to zero discharge of toxic chemicals in manufacturing by 2020, and is urging governments to work toward a goal of zero discharge within one generation. End the pain of Sumangali Scheme factories by demanding your spinning mills and garment factories improve labor conditions. The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is the height of indulgence, featuring top-model “Angels”, lavish parties and a diamond-studded bra worth upwards of $12 million dollars.
It is a world away from the harsh, miserable reality where the garments Victoria’s Secret sells are stitched together — a world where girls as young as 14 are trapped in bonded labor, forced by their parents to work for years to pay off dowries. Victoria’s Secret is one of many brands that contract with factories involved in this despicable child labor. Tell Victoria’s Secret to pressure its supply chain to end the terrible conditions in Sumangali Scheme factories. There are between 100,000 and 300,000 women working without pay in Sumangali Schemes — many of whom are girls as young as 14.

They are subjected to verbal and physical abuse, and put to work in excruciatingly hot factories with little ventilation. The girls are forced to live in hostels, with little to no interaction with the outside world. The Indian Government’s enforcement of labor law continues to fall short of what’s needed, which is where public facing brands like Victoria’s Secret come in. Tell Victoria’s Secret to commit to concrete and measurable steps to end bonded labor and Sumangali Scheme employment in its supply chain.
Victoria's Secret has vowed to remove chemicals from its supply chain by 2020 following a Greenpeace investigation which found hormone-disrupting phthalates in its underwear.
The 2011 report found high levels of chemicals including NPEs (which have been shown to exhibit estrogenic properties and are extremely toxic to aquatic organisms. Phthalates, a group of chemicals used to make plastics soft and flexible, are known endocrine disruptors that have been linked to birth defects, reproductive abnormalities, and early breast development, and have negative environmental effects.
Limited Brands, who own Victoria’s Secret (and La Senza in Canada) is the 14th global corporation to commit to eliminating all hazardous chemicals across its supply chain.
Limited Brands will carry out an investigation to uncover other dangerous chemicals in its supply chain and will disclose the data by the end of 2013. Five Major Food Companies will now Label their GMO Ingredients: Campbell’s, Kellogg’s, General Mills, ConAgra and Mars!
The world leader in nutritional supplements & the only company specializing in raw, wild, remote-source natural medicines from the pristine wilderness. The company will also publish pollution data this year from 80 percent of its supply chain.
It followed the lead of Japanese casual wear brand Uniqlo, which has also agreed to ban all toxic chemicals throughout its global supply chain and products by 2020. According to Greenpeace, Levi’s will require its largest suppliers with multiple facilities in China, Mexico and other locations to disclose pollution data by the end of June 2013.
I would urge these companies to get their products certified so that consumers can know that they are committed to safe, healthy materials and not regrettable substitutes. And because the word “compliance” means different things to different people, there are various ways to consider the state of being in compliance. That effort led to consumer boycotts against sports clothing manufacturers like Puma and adidas and prompted some international brands, like Marks & Spencer, to commit to long-term chemical reduction programs.
The VS products showed trace amounts of NPEs and undetectable levels of amine dyes; however, the study found an unacceptable concentration of phthalates in the underwear sample. And while the company’s test results are far less damning than most of the other fast-fashion brands tested, it is singled out for the failure of parent company Limited Brands to commit to proactive sustainability practices in its manufacturing.
Victoria’s Secret hopes its customers focus on its models and ignore the hundreds of thousands of children that risk life and limb working next to industrial machinery to make its products.
The girls are cheap because they are making a devil’s bargain, signing up for three years’ hard labor in exchange for one lump-sum payment to form enough dowry for marriage.

Often the machines are dangerous to operate, especially under stress, and little safety equipment or supervision is provided. Often, they are not even allowed to make phone calls to their families, let alone have contact with trade unions or labor advocates.
If we can pressure the global garment industry to exercise power over its supply chain and act to ensure that human rights are respected, hundreds of thousands of women’s lives will be improved. NPEs were found in close to two-thirds of the 141 garments Greenpeace tested), phthalates, cancer-causing amines from the use of azo dyes, and various other potentially hazardous industrial chemicals. The phthalate level found in one of the items made by Victoria’s Secret was so high, that had it been a toy, it would be banned in some states and countries. She teaches natural nutrition in both corporate and educational environments and is a shining example of someone who practices what she teaches. After losing weight several years ago through a more natural diet and by improving her digestion, she committed to sharing her new-found knowledge and returned to school to study nutrition.
The commitment calls for Limited Brands to stop using phthalates and perfluorinated chemicals in its clothing before the 2020 deadline. Our certification requires that companies know what’s in their products and makes safe substitutes . Victoria’s Secret knows this is going on, but won’t listen unless it’s customers and potential customers use our voice to stand up for these girls. The girls forgo education to slave in these factories, bearing heart-wrenching pain and sacrifice to churn out garments like Victoria’s Secret lingerie. Many workers suffer appallingly ill health, brought on by poor diet, unhygienic living conditions, and the prevalence of ingesting cotton into the lungs and stomach. Over the past decade, her Nu-Vitality Weight Program has helped employees at numerous corporations lose thousands of pounds. Certification puts companies on a path towards innovation and quality and identifies them as leaders. In addition, Lisa regularly consults for groups and individuals with unique nutritional needs such as police officers and athletes. Lisa has been featured on the Discovery Channel, numerous radio programs and is a contributor to various publications.
Additionally, she teaches nutrition at multiple post-secondary schools, has taught natural food cooking workshops, and authored two books.

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