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Guest Thinkers

Are Western Companies Polluting China’s Rivers?

After a year-long review of textile factories in China, Greenpeace says Western clothing manufacturers are complicit in the release of harmful chemicals into China’s rivers.  

What’s the Latest Development?

Following a Greenpeace investigation into corporate responsibility in China, the environmental group reports that large textile factories, which often supply Western clothing companies, regularly release toxic chemicals into China’s rivers. “The Youngor facility in Ningbo, near Shanghai, was found to have discharged nonylphenol, an endocrine disruptor that builds up in the food chain, perfluorinated chemicals, which can have an adverse effect on the liver and sperm counts, as well as a cocktail of other toxins.”

What’s the Big Idea?

Greenpeace has linked Nike, Adidas, H&M, Puma and Lacoste with the Youngor textile facility, which it believes is releasing toxins into China’s water supply. The companies deny that their business with Youngor uses any of the products Greenpeace refers to in their report, most of which are made necessary during the dyeing process. But denying any direct responsibility is not good enough, says Greenpeace. Do companies with large brand recognition have an added responsibility to promote environmentally responsible behavior in general? What are the limits of corporate responsibility? 


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