Greenpeace forces H&M to detox its textile supply chain, 2011


For H&M to cease the use of dangerous chemicals in its supply chain contributing to the pollution of waters near their factories in China and Indonesia.

Time period

12 July, 2011 to 20 September, 2011



Location Description

Like many anti-corporate campaigns, the actions for this campaign were greatly dispersed. Although H&M was charged with polluting waters in Indonesia and China, actions against the retailer were all over the world and online. Local store actions were known to be taken in Sweden, Germany, China and nine other countries not specifically named in press materials.
Jump to case narrative

Methods in 2nd segment

Methods in 3rd segment

Methods in 4th segment

Methods in 5th segment

Methods in 6th segment

Additional methods (Timing Unknown)

Segment Length

Approximately 12 days

Notes on Methods

Due to online communication networks and the dispersal of Greenpeace offices and H&M stores precise timing of methods is sometimes unknown. Please see narrative for more detail.




Not known

External allies

Not known

Involvement of social elites

None known


H&M Clothing Company

Nonviolent responses of opponent

None known

Campaigner violence

None known

Repressive Violence

None known





Group characterization

Greenpeace activists and concerned consumers

Groups in 1st Segment

Greenpeace activists and concerned consumers worldwide

Segment Length

Approximately 12 days

Success in achieving specific demands/goals

5 out of 6 points


1 out of 1 points


2 out of 3 points

Total points

8 out of 10 points

Notes on outcomes

Success of H&M's new policies is still being measured by their current actions. The growth of this campaign is difficult to measure due to Greenpeace's global network.

Database Narrative

On 12 July 2011 Greenpeace released a report titled
“Dirty Laundry” naming H&M as the largest clothing manufacturer amongst a
number of international brands linked to textile manufacturing facilities in
Indonesia and China discharging hazardous chemicals local water systems.  The facilities’ discharge waters had dangerous
levels of caustic and hazardous substances present, including endocrine
disruptor nonylphenol and solvent tribuyl phosphate.

After Greenpeace mobilized online signatures on their
“Detox Fashion Manifesto” they quickly won textile policy changes from major retailers
Nike, Adidas, and Puma.  However, H&M
refused to respond to initial Greenpeace communications and sharing of petition
signatures.  On 13 September 2011
Greenpeace escalated its tactics with H&M.

Mobilizing their global network, Greenpeace quickly
pushed for H&M “rebranding” across the world.  On 15 September 2011 activists placed large “DETOX
our water” and “DETOX the future” stickers over the windows of H&M stores
in twelve countries (including China, France, Germany, and Sweden).  Activists shared information about hazardous
chemicals within H&M’s supply chain in front of stores during peak business
hours.  Greenpeace blasted communication
over online networks as well, and mobilized thousands of tweets and facebook
posts from concerned customers.

On 20 September 2011 H&M responded to customer pressure and pledged to publish
information about chemicals released by factories in its supply chain.  Furthermore, the company promised to remove
hazardous chemicals from its supply chain completely by 2020.

Under continued
Greenpeace pressure and online attention, H&M published a detailed version
of their new Restricted Substance list on their website on 25 October 2011.


Greenpeace styled its campaign against H&M slightly after it's other anti-corporate campaigns and certainly after its successful July 2011 campaign targeting Nike's use of hazardous chemicals in its supply chain (1).

This campaign likely informed Greenpeace's current efforts to "detox" Gap's supply chain. (2)


"The Detox Campaign." Greenpeace International. Greenpeace, 2013. Web. Apr. 2013. <>.

"Detox Our Future." Greenpeace International. Greenpeace, 2013. Web. Apr. 2013. <>.

"Detox Timeline." Greenpeace International. Greenpeace, 2013. Web. Apr. 2013. <>.

Joint Roadmap: Toward Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals. Rep. H&M, 15 Nov. 2011. Web. Apr. 2013. <>.

"Polluting Paradise: Big Brands Including Gap Exposed in Indonesian Toxic Water Scandal." Water World. PennWell Corporation, 2011. Web. Apr. 2013. <>.

"Towards Zero Discharge." H&M. H&M, 2013. Web. Apr. 2013. <>.

Whittle, Thomas. "Greenpeace Reveals Int’l Fashion Brands Involvement in Indonesian Toxic Water Problem." NZweek. NZweek, 18 Apr. 2013. Web. Apr. 2013. <>.

Name of researcher, and date dd/mm/yyyy

Pauline Blount, 22/04/2013