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Oeko-tex to introduce new sustainable textiles label

Oeko-tex to introduce new sustainable textiles label Source:
Date: 28-11-2013
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The OEKO-TEX Secretariat was established 20 years ago in Switzerland and for this reason, this year's meeting of the OEKO-TEX General Managers on November 14th and 15th took place in Lucerne - at the heart of Europe and Switzerland.
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.
The planned product label should replace the previous OEKO-TEX Standard 100plus. It will enable products to be rewarded that have been tested for harmful substances and which have also been produced in an environmentally friendly and socially responsible way.
With regard to the increasing market importance of OEKO-TEX, the General Managers have decided to increase the control tests to 25% of all certificates issued each year. For this, products certified according to the OEKO-TEX Standard 100 are purchased from retailers on a random basis and tested for compliance with the valid test criteria.
The company audits that are part of the OEKO-TEX product certification will be continued in the proven way. Up until now, all companies around the world with an OEKO-TEX certificate are audited at least once by their responsible institute.
The company visits are carried out in a regular cycle of three years to provide targeted support to the company when implementing the required criteria and to raise awareness of the advantages of the existing certification, for example, the labelling of products with the "Confidence in Textiles" mark or the free use of the OEKO-TEX Buying Guide.
The Slovakian research and test institute VÚTCH-CHEMITEX spol. s r.o. in Žilina was accepted at the start of August as an additional member institute authorised to carry out the OEKO-TEX laboratory texts and issue certificates. The OEKO-TEX Association now consists of 16 member institutes in Europe and Japan as well as 52 representative offices around the world.
The new criteria for the testing of textiles for harmful substances as per OEKO-TEX Standard 100 will be published at the start of January 2014 as usual.
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