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ZDHC Releases Report Outlining Progress Toward Zero Toxicity in Supply Chains

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The Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) Group recently released its annual report for 2013 outlining its achievements in cleaning up textile supply chains.

ZDHC has committed to eliminating hazardous chemicals from the manufacturing process by 2020 and has set a new standard of environmental performance for the global apparel and footwear industries.

The organization formed in 2011 and created a Joint Roadmap outlining actionable plans for achieving its zero toxicity goals. In addition to cutting chemicals, ZDHC is working to create common chemical assessment tools and offer guidelines on best practices for supply chain stakeholders with regard to chemical use.

Last year, ZDHC released a second version of the plan that reflects a better understanding of the industry’s challenges and incorporates feedback from stakeholders about how to best make the move to manufacturing environmentally friendly textiles.

In 2013, ZDHC worked to implement the goals set in the Joint Roadmap. The report notes that, during the year, the ZDHC Group:

– Developed and issued a Benchmarking Study and Final Report — which provides critical insights about current discharge and future phase-out activities in the supply chain. The report includes testing and analysis results of approximately 150 analytes at twenty sites in Bangladesh, China, India, Taiwan and Vietnam.

– Increased brand membership from nine to seventeen with the Benetton Group S.p.A, Esprit, Gap Inc., Inditex, L Brands, Marks & Spencer, New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc., and PVH Corp joining the cause. Early brand supporters of the effort included H&M, Levi Strauss & Co. and NIKE, Inc. Three associations, British standards solutions group BSI, European Outdoor Group (EOG) and GermanFashion also joined ZDHC.

– Initiated landmark collaboration with the China National Textile and Apparel Council, co-hosting stakeholder meeting in China with approximately
 300 participants representing the Government of China, NGOs, brands, industrial associations, suppliers (from the entire supply chain including garment, fabric, dyeing and finishing and chemical suppliers) and service providers.

– Developed and issued a Framework for the Prioritization of Hazardous Chemicals — which will be used to assess chemicals for further action including phase out and research.

– Developed a ZDHC manufacturing restricted substances list (MRSL) and sought third party review to assess the proposed list of chemicals and levels of detection. The MRSL will be published this year.

– Conducted research on right to know chemical disclosure methodologies, including Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers (PRTR), to be published this year.

– Developed the ZDHC Generic Audit Protocol and Audit Guidelines and conducted twenty-two pilot audits at supplier locations to assess facility/system performance.

ZDHC says its next steps will be to forge ahead in the mission to spread the word about zero discharge by 2020 and increase membership by bringing new brands and associations on board.

The full report can be found here: http://www.roadmaptozero.com/programme-documents.php.

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