OEKO-TEX® has just made it a lot easier for production facilities, consumers and stakeholders to keep track of the carbon and water environmental impact had during manufacturing.
Established in 1992 OEKO-TEX® has been awarding certifications to products, aiding consumers and companies in making responsible decisions, aiming to support customers on their journey to a sustainable future, offering tailored solutions. It consists of 17 independent institutes in Europe and Japan that are constantly working together to develop new testing methods and limit values for the textile and leather industry certifications they award. Its different independent certificates and product labels are a testament to a safe, environmentally friendly and socially responsible produced product.
A big proponent of innovation boots within the industry, it contributes to the development of high-quality products, following their mission to develop trust in textiles and leather and their manufacturing. OEKO- TEX® works worldwide with partner institutes in over 60 countries, providing direct local support. It was originally founded by three European institutes, the Testex textile testing institute, the Austrian textile research institute), and the Hohenstein research institute.
Its latest endeavour is the launch of the Impact Calculator and setting new regulations for 2022.
Launched by STeP by OEKO-TEX® the Impact Calculator was created to measure and report the carbon output and water usage of production facilities. The calculator gives a first estimate and evaluation of the materials and process steps that most influences their overall environmental impact. This new system is voluntary and will be available to any manufacturer that wishes to apply and for those that already have a STeP by OEKO-TEX® certification.
This allows facilities to pinpoint which section of the process needs to be re-evaluated to improve its environmental impact. The Impact Calculator also improves transparency by sharing the data collected it gives consumers, investors and stakeholders a better understanding of where the manufacturer stands.
“Transparency is the decisive factor to measure and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption in supply chains.” said OEKO-TEX®’s secretary-general, Georg Dieners, in a statement “ Embedding criteria for CO2 emissions and water consumption is a logical step toward even more transparency.”
The tool was developed along with OEKO-TEX®’s partner Quantis through the Screening Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) approach. The Screening LCA is an easier, quicker and cheaper alternative to the full LCA, but still provides enough basic and credible data into where the carbon emissions and water usage of a facility are happening during the processing steps and for which type of fiber. The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a system used to review the possible environmental impacts of products or services during their life cycle. The framework covers five stages, raw material extraction, manufacturing and processing, transportation, usage and retail, and waste disposal.
For the Impact Calculator, OEKO-TEX® used a customized approach to reach the carbon emissions and water footprints tackling the specific needs and processes of manufacturers. When the facility has input the data into the tool, the results are assigned across the production processes and multiplied by the pertinent data from the ecoinvent v.3.5 database and the World Apparel and Footwear Database (WALDB). The WALDB was created by Quantis, in partnership with multiple textile companies, and is recognized internationally.
In tandem, OEKO-TEX® also released a new set of regulations for 2022. With the new regulations, it has announced the introduction of the RESPONSIBLE BUSINESS by OEKO-TEX® certification.
The RESPONSIBLE BUSINESS by OEKO-TEX® certification is set to be introduced halfway through this year and signals the businesses that have agreed to the international agreements for human rights and environmental protection. The certification was developed following the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the relevant OECD Guidelines on Responsible Business Conduct. With this new certification, OEKO-TEX®’s goal is to help companies guarantee their obligations within their operations and their global supply systems.