The Oeko-Tex Association has released its annual updates to test criteria, limit values and requirements for its certifications.
All new regulations will come into force after the transition period on April 1. In addition, its new Impact Calculator is now available for STeP by Oeko-Tex customers. The industry-specific tool will provide carbon and water footprint data essential to meeting climate goals.
At the 2021 World Climate Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, representatives of the textile industry presented a more ambitious version of the United Nations Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action. In the updated charter, more than 130 participating companies pledged their commitment to limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius–a goal of the Paris Climate Agreement. In turn, the textile industry has set the target of reducing carbon emissions by minimum 30 percent by 2030.
The carbon- and water-intensive manufacturing processes in the textile industry hold great potential for improvement, but the large-scale challenge requires action beyond voluntary initiatives, Oeko-Tex said. To achieve the industry’s 2030 goal, companies need reliable data.
To promote progress and data exchange along the global supply chain, Oeko-Tex has launched the Impact Calculator. The tool measures the carbon and water footprint of each process step, the overall process and one kilogram of material or product.
“Transparency is the decisive factor to measure and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption in supply chains,” said Oeko-Tex secretary general Georg Dieners. “Providing tangible solutions for industry’s challenges is the guiding principle behind Oeko-Tex’s 30 years of commitment to companies and consumers. Oeko-Tex continues to develop scientific solutions and digital systems for our customers to manage processes in terms of environmental and social impact. Embedding criteria for CO2 emissions and water consumption is a logical step toward even more transparency.”
Oeko-Tex recognized the need for action and started development of a life cycle assessment tool in 2020. Now, both carbon and water footprint calculations are integrated into the STeP by Oeko-Tex facility certification. The certification now enables individual facilities to identify the largest carbon and water impacts by materials used or produced, as well as by production processes; take action to improve operations and meet reduction targets, and share carbon and water footprint data with customers, investors, business partners and other stakeholders.
The STeP certification is a pre-requisite for earning the Made in Green by Oeko-Tex product label. Implementation of footprint calculation data for consumer communication is planned for a future step toward transparency.
In mid-2022, the association will introduce Responsible Business by Oeko-Tex, a certification for brands and retailers committed to international agreements for human rights and environmental protection. Oeko-Tex aims to support companies in fulfilling due diligence obligations within their own operations and their global supply chains. Responsible Business by Oeko-Tex was developed in accordance with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the relevant OECD Guidelines on Responsible Business Conduct.
Made in Green by Oeko-Tex, the traceable sustainability label for textiles and leather goods, again recorded the strongest growth within the Oeko-Tex portfolio. Compared to the previous year, the number of Made in Green label holders increased by 55 percent. While home textiles continue to occupy the top spot as the strongest category, there is currently movement particularly in the apparel category. With a year-on-year increase of 156 percent, workwear and protective clothing recorded the biggest growth.
Also for 2022, Oeko-Tex has tightened its limits for bisphenol B (BPA) in the Standard 100, Leather Standard and Eco Passport by Oeko-Tex certifications and added it to the STeP by Oeko-Tex Manufacturers Restricted Substance List (MRSL). These updates were based on a recent study by the California-based Center for Environmental Health that found elevated levels of BPA in socks from several brands. BPA is suspected of causing developmental and reproductive harm, as well as serious health problems. The route of exposure for the substance is dermal absorption directly through the skin when in contact with textiles.
The limits in Standard 100 and Leather Standard by Oeko-Tex have also been changed for dyes based on Michler’s ketone/base. The strict limits for these residues will lower the burden on the environment, workers and consumers.
Oeko-Tex offers standardized solutions with which customers can optimize their production process and contribute to bringing high-quality, sustainable products to market. All services provided by the Oeko-Tex portfolio serve to strengthen customers’ systems, processes and products and, ultimately, to create more sustainable companies.
Currently, 21,000 manufacturers, brands and retailers in nearly 100 countries formally work with Oeko-Tex to ensure that their products are tested for possible harmful chemicals. At the same time, millions of consumers around the globe use the Oeko-Tex labels to inform their purchasing decisions.