Adidas: Chemicals and water pollution in Indonesia

A 2012 Greenpeace report accused adidas, H&M, and several other big garment industry names of contaminating water systems through chemical residues left on clothing sold to consumers worldwide, even in areas where chemical use was restricted. [1]

A more recent report condemned the adidas Group and H&M for their ties to the PT Gistex Group, a controversial company known for its repeated contamination of the Citarum River in West Java, Indonesia. The region hosts several clothing factories that dye, print, and finish polyester fabrics. Adidas admits to having business ties to the factory, however, the company refused to reveal the extent of those ties. H&M, however, openly admits to their relationship with the group on their website.The factory, like many others in the region, uses the river as a dumping ground for waste. The Greenpeace report identified several harmful substances such as nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs), which are restricted in Europe and North America, in the Citarum River. [2]

The contamination of the Citarum River jeopardizes public health, aquatic life, and the region’s biodiversity. Greenpeace appealed to the companies involved, seeking policy reform and greater brand-supplier transparency to identify the full extent – including a full inventory of chemical effluents – of contamination.

[1] Environmental Leader (2012): adidas, Nike, H&M Clothing Emits Hazardous Chemicals when Washed, Greenpeace Says, 23 March 2012: (accessed 02.10.2013).

[2] Greenpeace (2013): Toxic Threads. Polluting Paradise. A story of big brands and water pollution in Indonesia: (accessed 02.10.2013), p.33.