Greenpeace: The Detox Challenge To Clean China’s Waters

Greenpeace - Detox Challenge

Greenpeace - Dirty Laundry report On July 13th 2011, Greenpeace published a new investigative report titled, ‘Dirty Laundry‘. Within the 116 page report Greenpeace probed China’s textile manufacturing industry.

Focusing on two major factories it discovered that these firms were guilty of releasing substantial amounts of hazardous chemicals into China’s rivers and lakes. What is more these factories create clothing for a range of Western and Chinese clothing brands the most recognizable being Nike, Adidas and Li-Ning.


The ‘Detox Challenge’

To combat the water pollution being caused by these factories, Greenpeace launched what they have called the ‘Detox Challenge‘. It is a call to action to encourage all the guilty brands to detoxify their supply chains. The ‘Detox Challenge’ campaign concentrates its efforts on Nike and Adidas with the hope that these two leading brands will set an example for their competitors.

Greenpeace Detox


How big is the problem?

Water pollution in China is a serious issue. Two Chinese factories named the Youngor Textile City Complex and the Well Dyeing Factory Limited were the picked out as part of the Greenpeace investigation. These manufacturing plants are located along China’s Yangtze and Pearl Rivers, respectively.

The chemicals that are released into these rivers are a danger to both the environment and human lives respectively. Some are known hormone disruptors, whilst others can affect the reproductive system. Many of them don’t break down in the environment, but instead build up in the bodies of animals and humans. Thus making them serious threat.

The Youngor textiles factory discharges toxic chemicals into Fenghua River.

The Youngor textiles factory

The Youngor Textiles Factory.

The Youngor Textiles Factory.

The Well Dyeing Factory Limited


What is Greenpeace’s solution?

Are you all in - just do it

Turn the brands’ big budget advertising against them. To raise awareness around the issues and force the likes of Nike and Adidas to take notice Greenpeace reworked recent Nike and Adidas advertising campaigns and set them a challenge.

Here is the video they created that went viral around the world:

(Watch on Youku)

The Detox Challenge website parodies the Adidas ‘Adidias is all in‘ campaign by asking, ‘are you all in?’. It also plays on their slogans saying:

“Join us in challenging Nike, adidas and all other ‘would-be champions’ to JUST DO IT and lead the way towards a toxic-free future, proving once and for all that impossible really is nothing.”

Greenpeace shui - detox logo

For those wondering about the Chinese character () in the campaign’s logo, it is pronounced ‘shuǐ’ and is the Mandarin word for water.


The world’s largest striptease

Greenpeace Detox Striptease - China

To raise further awareness about the Detox Challenge, at the weekend more specifically on Saturday 23rd July 2011, around 600 people stripped off their clothes outside Adidas and Nike stores in 29 cities in 10 countries around the world. Teams of dancers, including Greenpeace activists, supporters and consumers who signed up online, simultaneously performed a choreographed striptease, taking off their clothes to reveal the message ‘Detox’.

Why? To show that when you strip back all the marketing hype, the naked truth is revealed: Adidas and Nike are playing on the same team as toxic polluters. The global striptease has been submitted to Guinness World Records.

Despite the nudity being slightly contraversial, it’s surprising ‘flashmobbing’ is still being used as a medium to raise awareness. It is an activity that has been far too overused of late, and is now to be frank, getting boring. Nevertheless here are some photos from the various staged events around the world:

Greenpeace Detox Striptease - 7

Greenpeace Detox Striptease - 6

Greenpeace Detox Striptease - 5

Greenpeace Detox Striptease - 4

Greenpeace Detox Striptease - 2


The results

Eventhough the campaign only launched a couple of weeks ago, thousands of people around the world have pledged their support for the campaign.

Whether or not naked flashmobbing will cause the CEOs of Nike and Adidas to do the right thing, is something only time will tell. However, the fact their brand messaging has been reworked and used against them will no doubt cause some boardroom heads to turn!


No brand is safe

Greenpeace Volkswagen The Dark Side

Greenpeace also recently turned the tables on Volkswagen by creating an amusing advert based around their famous Star Wars commercial.

The original

Greenpeace version

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  • I’m totally for the same goals as Greenpeace… but Deto-水? That doesn’t even sound anything but lame!

  • Dr. Dust Cell

    Is Greenpeace = Sea Shepherd in terms of how radical their actions can get?

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