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TESTEX interviews Huafang on STeP by OEKO-TEX® importance

Nov '19
Pic: Testex
Pic: Testex
Recently TESTEX interviewed Huafang chairman Limin Wang on importance of STeP by OEKO-TEX® and being the first hemp producer to have the Made in Green by OEKO-TEX® label. According to Wang, as a leading dyeing and printing company in China, Huafang is committed to provide environmentally friendly textile products and ensure sustainability of environment.

“The textile industry is China's traditional pillar industry, an important civil production industry that creates new advantages in internationalisation. It is also an innovation-driven technology industry, a culture-led fashion industry and a responsible-oriented green industry. As a key link of the textile industry, the printing and dyeing industry plays an important supporting role in promoting the sustainable development of the textile industry. The technology and transformation’s upgrading of the printing and dyeing industry have positively promoted the development of the textile industry,” said Wang on being asked about the philosophy and strategy for sustainable production.

The reasons for the company for becoming STeP certified, is to continue to implement environmentally friendly production processes and continuously optimise the health, safety and socially recognised working environment, improve its environmental effectiveness, social responsibility and production efficiency, and able to be in the most competitive position in the domestic and international markets.

With the help of the modular evaluation framework of STeP certification, Huafang conducts a comprehensive analysis and evaluation from multiple perspectives. In a transparent and credible way, it shows buyers and consumers the status of sustainable performance of its products in the production process, which ensures that the company meets the requirements of global brand operators and retailers for their sustainability, environmental and social responsibility.

According to Wang, there are a number of steps that Huafang is planning to take to achieve its sustainable production journey in terms of the 6 STeP modules from level 2 to level 3.

For chemicals management, Huafang wants to meet the criteria for the restricted substances list and use ‘green’ chemicals, undergo regular training and education on chemical treatment and usage and its risk management; the use of MCCS.

In environmental performance area, it wants to adopt the best and effective production technology, optimise the production process, efficiently utilise its resources and reduce carbon footprint.

For environmental management, the company is committed to achieve the environmental goals set by the company and conduct regular training on environmental objectives and related measures.

In the area of social responsibility, it wants to implement performance appraisal for employees and existing social standards and ensure employees are trained on social issues.

For occupational health and safety, it wants to take appropriate measures to ensure the health and safety of employees in the workplace, enhance risk prevention through regular training and education and implementation of new safety standards.

In the area of quality management, Huafang wants to develop appropriate quality management system and ensure its implementation, ensure the traceability of logistics and company products and the corresponding documents, provide regular quality system training and education and adopt advanced management mode.

There are many best practices which is being adopted by the company in its facilities for better chemical management. For example, the company has refined procurement standards and developed procurement guidelines for chemicals that meet the list of restricted substances. It strictly controls the quality of chemicals, requiring suppliers to provide third-party testing reports, and conduct random inspections every year, and send samples to third parties (ITS, MTS, VB, etc.) for testing to ensure the quality and stability of purchased chemicals.

It has established a chemical application management system to form a standardised process for controlled chemical substances with a specially assigned person responsible for ensuring implementation.

It performs monthly training and education on the transportation, storage, using and handling of chemicals. It also conducts training and education on the use of chemicals and their risk management, generally on a monthly basis.

Huafang has established a quality supervision system to monitor the standard use of chemicals throughout the process to ensure that product quality meets the requirements of the restricted substances list.

The company has witnessed many positive changes after implementing the STeP system in its facilities in terms of people, management, productivity, product quality, environmental impact and brand image.

Many of Huafang’s partners rely on its OEKO-TEX® certification, including customers who have incorporated their certificates and Made in Green labels into their product packaging.

Clothing and home textile products have changed from life necessities to quality and cultural consumption. More and more consumers have begun to pay attention to the safety and sustainability of textiles. The Made in Green label is synonymous with green eco-textiles, indicating that products have been tested for harmful substances and are produced in a sustainable, environmentally friendly and socially responsible manner. Today, an increasing number of consumers are choosing traceable products with the Made in Green label. Thus, as a leading enterprise in the industry with a sense of social responsibility, Huafang has the responsibility to meet the requirements of consumers.

On being asked about what is the importance of being the first hemp producer to have the Made in Green by OEKO-TEX® label, Wang said that it has a large number of mature customers in Europe and America who have a deep understanding and demand for hemp products. Also, the Japanese market has a high acceptance of new fibres and functional fibres. Furthermore, due to the humid and sultry climate, southeast Asia is very suitable for the application of hemp products. Hemp is a renewable biomass resource which is in line with the trend of China's development towards a low carbon economy and plays an important role in the adjustment of the industrial structure of China's textile industry. Wang is optimistic about hemp products with the Made in Green label and believes it will help the company open new markets.

“Huafang Company Limited fulfils all the legal requirements and the requirements of six modules according to STeP by OEKO-TEX®, which shows that their sustainable production condition is very good. During the compliance audit, the company had improved its performance a lot, especially in the environmental performance, social responsibility, quality and safety modules. Now Huafang has upgraded its STeP certificate from level 2 to level 3, which is the highest level of STeP by OEKO-TEX®,” said TESTEX STeP auditor Richard Li.

TESTEX is a globally operating, independent Swiss testing and certification organisation with focus on textile and leather testing. Founded in 1846 and originally known as the ‘Seidentrocknungsanstalt Zurich’ (Silk Conditioning Institute), the TESTEX Group now operates more than 25 branches with more than 250 employees worldwide (including Testex and Oeti) from its head office in Zurich. TESTEX is a member institute of the OEKO-TEX® association and the official representative in Australia, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Switzerland, South Korea and Taiwan.

(Except for the headline and the first para, this story has not been edited by Fibre2Fashion staff.)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (PC)

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