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Oeko-Tex, ZDHC Renew Accord for Product and Production Safety

Collaborating to improve environmental impact by optimizing industry guidelines is the goal behind the new union of ZDHC (Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals) and Oeko-Tex (International Association for Research and Testing in the Field of Textile and Leather Ecology). Both groups monitor and certify the safety of products and their production processes for health and environmental impact.

The two groups have formalized a five-year-old agreement to enhance sustainable chemical management and cleaner chemistry principles but still meet the needs of chemical formulators and manufacturers, suppliers, brands and retailers. This new iteration of the agreement augments the benefits of both organizations to brands and their suppliers through a cohesive approach to sustainable chemical and product management across global supply chains.

Frank Michel, executive director of the ZDHC Foundation, noted how the new collaboration is a significant step towards a sustainable future for the industry.

“This partnership brings together our expertise to drive sustainability in the textile industry,” he said. “Together, we aim to accelerate sustainable chemical management, responsible production, and safer materials.”

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The new version of the agreement provides a framework for the work of the two groups. It includes an Oeko-Tex eco passport that certifies conformity against the ZDHC MRSL V3.1.

The passport can be obtained from any Oeko-Tex eco-passport labs but to display the certificate, chemical formulators must register the products with the ZDHC gateway.

It also smooths out alignment with the upcoming ZDHC Chemicals to Zero Program, and maximizes knowledge sharing between technical groups from both organizations.

Further, both groups agree that Oeko-Tex will promote ZDHC products and platforms such as Gateway, ClearStream and InCheck to minimize duplication of efforts and promote harmony in the industry.

Through the new agreement, customers using Oeko-Tex STeP, a health and safety certification program, gain access to the ZDHC Gateway and the ZDHC Supplier to Zero Program, which will further prepare them for Oeko-Tex STeP certification. Beginning in late summer 2023, customer requirements will be simplified by wastewater testing for Oeko-Tex Step which directly translates to a ZDHC ClearStream.

The two organizations will share data, which will improve data quality and make evaluation of impact more credible. The roll-out schedule is yet to be determined.

STeP customers already benefit from the partnership between Oeko-Tex x The BHive which enables customers to digitize their chemical inventories. Through The BHive customers can conduct ZDHC Performance InCheck and conformity checks against the ZDHC Gateway, the largest database of chemical products certified against the ZDHC MRSL.  

According to Georg Dieners, general secretary of Oeko-Tex, both organizations will be served by joining forces this way.

“The benefits of collaboration will drive transformational change and meet the true requirements of the industry,” he said.