The Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) group announced the testing of its comprehensive environmental audit tool, developed last year to ensure environmental performance and improvement throughout supply chains. The tool is intended for use in conducting dyehouse or printer audits, and it can also be used to audit a cut-and-sew facility.
In 2013, the group worked with Sustainable Textile Services, Hohenstein Institute and OEKO-TEX to develop version 1.0 of the tool, which was pilot tested at 35 wet-processing facilities in 23 dye houses and finishing facilities and two washing centers in eight different countries.
According to the ZDHC 2014 Audit Protocol report, pilot users and brands suggested that auditors need additional training on the tool to conduct the audit efficiently and expeditiously. They also said that several questions need clarification, and noted that the audit seemed specifically designed for large facilities and does not account for nuances that may exist for small to medium facilities.
At the request of many ZDHC members, version 2.0 will also include the addition of a stand-alone, chemicals-specific audit that could serve as a short-form audit protocol.
Results and feedback from the pilot tests will be factored into version 2.0 of the audit protocol tool, which will be released to the public by the end of 2014. ZDHC hopes the updated tool will become the apparel and footwear industry’s standard environmental audit protocol.