Denim brand Levi Strauss & Co has linked up with testing and research company Hohenstein in a bid to ensure the use of safer chemicals in its supply chain.
The collaboration involves the use of the Eco Passport by Oeko-Tex independent testing and certification system for chemicals, colourants and auxiliaries used in textile manufacturing.
It aims to enhance Levi's 'Screened Chemistry' programme to establish the use of safer chemistry in the apparel industry by providing enhanced levels of testing, verification and transparency.
Screened Chemistry, an open source programme which others can adopt, scrutinises chemical formulations to prevent potentially hazardous compounds from entering the apparel supply chain and identify safer alternatives.
By screening emerging chemistries that are not yet covered by Manufacturing Restricted Substances Lists (MRSLs), Levi says it has created a more holistic approach to ensuring safe and responsible chemicals management.
During a multi-stage process, Eco Passport analyses whether each individual ingredient in a chemical product meets international statutory requirements and whether it is harmful to human health. On-site inspections can validate claims that suppliers are using safer and better chemistry.
Michael Kobori, Levi's VP of sustainability, said: “Levi Strauss & Co is committed to responsible chemicals management across our supply chain and our industry.
"This collaboration helps take our existing programmes to the next level by establishing a new standard for responsible chemical stewardship that melds the hazard-based approach of Screened Chemistry with the robust testing and validation capabilities of Hohenstein.”
John Frazier, senior technical director at Hohenstein, added: “We believe that the collaboration between Levi Strauss & Co and Hohenstein is a significant step toward identifying and pulling better chemistry into apparel, footwear and textile supply chains.”
The combined use of Screened Chemistry and Eco Passport complements the recognised standards agreed upon by the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) Roadmap to Zero initiative.
Through testing and on-site verification, Eco Passport enables chemical suppliers to achieve higher levels of conformance with ZDHC. Certification results are published in the Oeko-Tex Buying Guide, providing a credible third-party assessment of chemical supplier performance.
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