OEKO-TEX, the International Association for Research and Testing in the Field of Textile Ecology, is set to launch a new tool that will allow brands, retailers and manufacturers to track and manage the sustainability of their supply chains based on relevant performance features.
Last July, OEKO-TEX introduced its new Sustainable Textile Production (STeP) certification that allows companies the opportunity to have their production plants independently evaluated and certified based on the use of sustainable technologies and for their social working conditions. Starting this summer, those companies will be able to manage the process more easily with a new online tool called MySTeP.
David Pircher, the project manager for STeP and MySTeP told Sourcing Journal, “To-date, we are extremely pleased with the acceptance and performance of the STeP standard. At the end of 2013, we had completed six certificates and twenty more were in-process.” He added that, “The interest level from customers is very high and we continue to receive new inquiries from factories in countries all over the world.”
With MySTeP, once companies register for the platform, they set up an account and have access to a dashboard. They can then contact STeP certified production plants within the system and ask that they release data on anything from contact information and the type of production (spinning mill, weaving mill, finishing facility or manufacturer of ready-made clothes), how long their STeP certification will be valid, and what the total score and evaluation of the operation’s individual company areas was. If requested, STeP certified suppliers can also release the display of additional information like audit reports from the institute that tested their facility.
Companies can use the information obtained to compare suppliers based on sustainability factors and make decisions based on global regions, countries, company size or the stage of production, for example. They can also check the validity of any OEKO-TEX certificates and be automatically notified when certificates expire.
In sum, Pircher said, “It will offer them: certificate management (not only for STeP certified factories, but for Standard 100 certificates as well); risk management; performance overview and total transparency for various aspects within the supply chain and individual factories.”
The OEKO-TEX association has been ensuring that textile products don’t contain harmful substances through the OEKO-TEX Standard 100 testing and certification system for the past two decades.
This new easy access to STeP certification information with MySTeP will help brands improve sustainability in their supply chains, something retailers and consumers increasingly demand as a standard.
“The transparent display of the KPIs therefore serves as a yardstick that simplifies the selection of new suppliers, but also helps to identify and eliminate possible risks in the existing supply chain,” according to OEKO-TEX.
“Retailers will find MySTep to be irreplaceable once they begin using it,” Pircher said. MySTeP is set to launch in summer 2014.