Ma Jun Takes on the Apparel Industry

October 25, 2012

2012 Goldman Environmental Prize recipient Ma Jun and his team at the Institute for Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE), along with four other NGOs- together known as the Green Choice Alliance NGOs, recently released a report on the environmental impacts of China’s apparel supply chain.

Ma Jun won the Goldman Prize for his work to expose environmental violations within China’s electronics supply chain, putting pressure on companies like Apple to clean up their production processes.

Green Choice Alliance’s report, covered by Ariel Schwartz in the Fast Company article “It’s Not Just Electronics: Delving Into the Problems with China’s Apparel Supply Chain,” reveals that printing and dyeing account for the vast majority of all energy and chemical consumption in the apparel industry.

The report spotlights one printing and dyeing factory in Qingmao, where residents complain the pollution is so bad that children regularly suffer nosebleeds and the river often runs black with effluent.

Using the same techniques to encourage electronics companies to more strictly monitor their suppliers, Ma Jun and the Green Choice Alliance suggest apparel companies use IPE’s Pollution Map Database to identify environmental polluters in their supply chain.

The report found that companies like Walmart, H&M, Nike and Levis are performing relatively well; while others including Disney, Polo Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger still have a long way to go.