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ZDHC Introduces New Conformance Guidance for Chemical Use

A new standard could further help curb the use of hazardous chemicals in textile supply chains.

The ZDHC Foundation, a sustainable global collaboration of 23 brands and more than 40 value chain partners, debuted the ZDHC MRSL Conformance Guidance. This industry manual evaluates the conformance of chemical formulations used in production with the ZDHC Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (ZDHC MRSL).

The new guideline will enable industry members to meet chemical management requirements, ensure the use of sustainable chemicals and foster better practices for the environment.

“The release of the MRSL Conformance Guidance is an important next step to deliver our Roadmap to Zero Programme,” ZDHC executive director Frank Michel said. “This manual supports chemical suppliers, brands, manufacturers, certification bodies and other intermediaries by finding and/or creating ZDHC MRSL conformant chemical formulations.”

The guidance provides chemical suppliers with an indication system to assess if chemical formulations meet the ZDHC MRSL requirements. Certificates from ZDHC accepted-third parties or acceptable analytical test results are part of the indication system, which also alerts industry members about criteria needed to achieve MRSL conformance. With the guidance, ZDHC aims to leverage third-party certification systems to ensure that harmful chemicals are universally banned from textile production facilities.

ZDHC MRSL conformance levels span from zero to three for interested parties. The levels are registered (chemical company, formulation name and safety sheet), self-declaration (level zero) and conforming (levels one to three). Levels show chemical product buyers how compliant chemical formulations are with the ZDHC MRSL. Higher conformance levels indicate more extensive reviews of chemical formulations and their producers.

ZDHC’s new guideline is the foundation for another development, the ZDHC Gateway-Chemical Module, an online search tool where chemical suppliers can register their chemical formulations and display the conformance levels of their products. Brands and manufacturers can also use the module to find safer chemical options in the market. After successfully launching the module on June 1, ZDHC plans to expand its chemical compliance initiatives this year.

“We’re really excited for the launch of this tool, that will be invaluable in providing clear, easily-accessible information on whether a chemical conforms with the ZDHC MRSL.” Michel said. “For this next exciting phase, we’re calling on the ZDHC Contributor Community to engage their relevant value chain partners.”

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