Many publications accused textiles to be toxic and dangerous to the end users
In an exclusive interview with Mary Christine Joy, Dr. Jean-Pierre Haug discusses sustainability and textiles. He talks about new challenges and developments in this field.
Dr. Jean-Pierre Haug joined Oeko-Tex in the year 2010 and was previously working with Swiss textile testing institute, TESTEX as its COO. He has contributed immensely towards spreading awareness about sustainability amongst textile manufacturers and retailers and making Oeko-Tex one of the most popular sustainability certification organizations in modern times.
How important do you suppose is sustainable and eco-friendly textile in modern times? Has this concept gained enough speed among textile companies?
The topic of sustainability will definitively get more and more importance in the future. The western world has remarked that the current way of consuming natural, non-renewable resources and at the same time spoiling the environment will sooner or later lead to a situation which our planet cannot digest any more. Also the "consumption" of human resources in the emerging markets of the world is contradictory to the ethical values of the western countries. Various publications in mass media are informing the end user regularly of non-acceptable situations in some producing sites. And if you consider what discussions have been conducted after the fire incidences in some garment factories in the last months, then you can easily draw your own conclusions on the consequences this will have in the future.
How do you think can sustainability certifications like Oeko-Tex make a difference?
Oeko-Tex was introduced in 1995, already a certification scheme next to the Oeko-Tex Standard 100, and it covers the "responsible" manufacturing of textiles and garments. This system is now under refurbishment and will be published in the first half of this year under the title "Sustainable Textile Production" or its acronym STeP. The very well introduced Oeko-Tex Standard 100 on the other hand is covering already part of the sustainability topic by certifying that the produced articles are free of harmful concentrations of chemicals which may harm the consumer when using the textiles.
What all criteria do you take into consideration at the time of issuing certifications? What all qualities do the company needs to possess in order to receive this certification?
For Oeko-Tex Standard 100, the range of chemicals which are controlled is openly communicated and can be retrieved by every interested party from the internet. With STeP, we will certify textile and garment mills and not focus on the products. The certification will cover environmental management system and performance, safety, quality, chemical management and last but not least social requirements.
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