ZDHC Scales Sustainable Apparel Supply Chains

The Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) Programme has so far been a great success in bringing together players big and small from across the global textile, leather and footwear sectors to start building more robust and resilient supply chains.

With a key focus on removing hazardous chemicals from the industry, and backed by a plethora of brands committed to doing the right thing, the ZDHC’s Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (MRSL) has been central to focusing the minds of those playing key roles in bringing products to market. The list of chemical substances banned from intentional use in facilities that process textile materials establishes acceptable concentration limits – and has helped to transform manufacturing in recent years. Elsewhere, core programmes focusing on wastewater quality and a robust audit protocol have helped to build consistency across the apparel value chain.

But clearly, in such a complex industry made up of numerous players and differing manufacturing techniques, there is still a long way to go in encouraging widespread best practice that will truly eradicate the use of dangerous chemicals across all parts of the supply chain.

So, the launch of the ZDHC’s Implementation Hub, designed to “take the scaling of chemical and environmental management best practices to the next level,” has been warmly welcomed.

Officially launched as part of the first ‘Friends of ZDHC’ event which brings together the various ZDHC contributors including brands, retailers and supply chain players, the Implementation Hub is the culmination of the last few years’ effort in devising a ‘Roadmap to Zero’ programme, highlighting the best in class guidance and tools that can help the industry achieve zero discharge and the use of more sustainable chemistry.

While, the ZDHC has tripled its number of contributors (or members) in the last two years, it needed a vehicle to help its members continuously make improvement and track the real progress being made. The Hub is its tool to do that.

So, ZDHC members can now access a range of services in the areas of: baselining; strategy setting; and implementation. And these are conducted by industry experts that have been accredited by ZDHC to make sure they are of the highest competency and quality level. So, for a range of projects, brands, retailers and manufacturers are more easily able to match the industry experts that will help them achieve their goals to improve their chemical and environmental management, wherever they sit within the supply chain.

The second big offering is that the Implementation Hub will act as a portal for piloting any scalable innovations – ideas that might be trialled at facilities across the globe, with a view that large-scale implementation projects will be rolled out more widely.

While the ZDHC Implementation Hub has been established in the Netherlands, regional and local capability will be built using an “international ecosystem of accredited experts”. Specific services will therefore be anchored in each respective country to have the biggest supply chain impact.

The first Hub projects were scheduled to begin in January 2018 with individual ZDHC signatory brands, and the initial focus will be on India, China and Italy.