With its comprehensive criteria catalogue, the OEKO-TEX Standard 100 has worked towards the effective exclusion of harmful substances from products at all processing levels of the textiles sector since 1992. Accordingly, at the General Managers meeting, the focus of the discussion was, as usual, the continual further development of the OEKO-TEX test criteria.
The aim of the OEKOTEX representatives is to provide optimum support to around 10,000 participating companies around the world through OEKO-TEX product certification - for example, with regard to compliance with the REACh legislation or the implementation of other initiatives such as the Zero Discharge of Chemicals (ZDHC) campaign by well-known brands and retailers, who, together with their suppliers, have committed themselves to ensuring that problematic chemicals are not released into the environment by 2020.
With 12,555 certificates issued in the past year alone, and a growth rate of 6.3% compared to the previous year, the OEKO-TEX Standard 100 has been able to reinforce its international position as the leading independent certification standard for human-ecologically optimised textiles.
With regard to the geographical distribution of the certificates, there was a further move towards Asia (59.7%, previous year 59.0%) at the expense of Europe (37.2%, previous year 38.0%). Overall, more than 125,000 certificates have been issued around the world, whereby most certifications took place in China, Germany, Turkey, India, Bangladesh and Italy.
The General Managers were also impressed by the market response so far to the STeP certification system for socially responsible and environmentally friendly production facilities.
To date, five companies from the European textile industry have been awarded the demanding STeP certificate: Hermann Bühler AG, Mattes & Ammann GmbH & Co. KG, Weberei Appenzell AG, Gebr. Otto GmbH & Co. KG and Pascual y Bernabeu, S.A.
Other notable manufacturers such as eterna Mode GmbH are currently undergoing the necessary assessment and company audit and will soon also be certified in accordance with STeP.
In addition, the OEKO-TEX Association has begun to develop a new instrument (MySTeP) which will enable retailers to list production plants certified in accordance with STeP in a "cockpit" within their own procurement chain. This will facilitate their path to greater sustainability in the value creation chain.
To enable brands and retailers to make the sustainable production conditions along the textile supply chain visible in the end product in the future and communicate them to the end consumer, the OEKO-TEX representatives at the meeting in Lucerne also gave the go-ahead for the development of a new OEKO-TEX product label which is intended to be introduced to the market from summer 2014.
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