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ZDHC Taps New Partnership to Scale Chemical Management in Supply Chains

The biggest problem with chemical management today is that each company, each country, and each organization can have its own way of doing things, which makes for costly and complicated supply chain process.

Now the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) campaign wants to help scale chemical management in supply chains.

The program aimed at moving the apparel and textile industry toward zero discharge of toxins by 2020, has partnered with the Business Environmental Performance Initiative (BEPI), which works to help retailers, importers and brands to improve environmental performance in supplying factories worldwide.

Together, both sides will address aspects like the Manufacturing Restricted Substance List (MRSL), Audit Protocol and Wastewater Quality Standard, and engage in cross cutting areas of data and training.

“The textiles and footwear supply chains require specific chemical management implementation support,” BEPI managing director Stuart Harker, said. “Our collaboration with ZDHC is an important step in achieving this and scaling up the industry-leading work of the ZDHC.”

BEPI will provide its members with the best practice tools and standards in its upcoming Supply Chain Chemical Management module, which apart from supporting implementation at scale, will facilitate common messaging across global textile supply chains.

The partnership will also explore using the Foreign Trade Association (FTA) Academy, an online platform for sharing capacity building activities, to circulate training on chemicals and chemical management across both organizations’ member supply chains. According to a joint statement, ZDHC and BEPI said the move would be a “tremendous” opportunity to scale awareness and increase knowledge, key for creating good chemical management in factories around the world.

“Our vision is to have ZDHC guidelines in responsible chemicals management become the accepted industry standard, and we’re excited to be collaborating with BEPI and its network, to further our work, and reach even more actors within the value-chain,” ZDHC executive director Frank Michel, said.

Anna Vetsch, sustainability project manager at Coop Switzerland and a BEPI member, added, “As supply chain chemical management can be both complicated and costly for many organizations, a streamlined scalable approach to standards, monitoring and training is needed. BEPI and ZDHC partnership is a significant step towards meeting this goal.”