The world's largest sportswear brand, Nike (NYSE: NKE), announced it will eliminate all releases of hazardous chemicals across its global supply chain by 2020.
The company says is will ensure full transparency regarding chemicals released from suppliers' factories, and will also use its influence, knowledge and experience to eliminate hazardous chemicals from the clothing industry in general.
Nike plans to publish an implementation plan within eight weeks.
"We recognize the path to reaching this goal must be through innovation, the application of green chemistry, and broad industry and regulatory collaboration and engagement," Nike says.
"Due to the highly complex and shared nature of supply chains, we invite others in our industry to co-create a broader action plan for the industry, as collaboration is critical to drive progress."
Nike's promise to remove bioaccumulative and hormone disrupting substances from its supply chain comes five weeks after Greenpeace released its "Dirty Laundry" report, which links major clothing brands - including Nike, Adidas and Puma - and suppliers responsible for releasing hazardous and hormone-disrupting chemicals into Chinese rivers.
Puma made a similar commitment to eliminate hazardous discharges three weeks ago. Adidas has yet to respond to the Greenpeace campaign, called "Detox Challenge."
Greenpeace tested 78 branded clothing samples manufactured mostly in 18 countries, but mostly in China, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines.
They found traces of nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs), commonly used as industrial detergents, in two-thirds of the products.
They were found in 14 top clothing brands including Adidas, Uniqlo, Calvin Klein, H&M, Abercrombie & Fitch, Lacoste, Converse and Ralph Lauren.
The chemicals have toxic, persistent, hormone-disrupting properties. "Since residual levels of NPEs are released when clothes are washed, they are in effect creeping into countries where their use is banned," says Greenpeace.