The sustainable label for “Made in Green” textiles and leather goods is once again the fastest growing OEKO-TEX® product. Compared to the previous year, the number of certified labels increased by 267 percent, going from 1093 to 4010 at the end of 2020. The declared goal for 2021 is the systemic integration of the environmental (carbon) and water footprint, which enables consumers to find out directly, by scanning the label of each product, what impact the production of the respective article has on the ecosystem. In order to evaluate the feasibility and to examine how it can be harmoniously incorporated into the OEKO-TEX® portfolio, the test institute launched a pilot project at the end of 2019 in collaboration with Calida, a manufacturer of underwear and nightwear, and Quantis, a leading international company known for its metrics-based approach to sustainability.
Based on a recent EU risk assessment, OEKO-TEX® has also changed its limit values for PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and salts, as well as for PFOA-related substances. For OEKO-TEX®’s Eco Passport, titanium dioxide (TiO2) has been added to the CAS number screening for respirable size particles as well as for STep by OEKO-TEX®. Per- and polyfluorinated alkyl compounds (PFAS) are industrial chemicals that are mainly used in coatings for textiles such as outdoor clothing.
OEKO-TEX® has also been part of a ZHDC team that recently published the first ZDHC White paper on air emissions. OEKO-TEX® has tightened the sulphur dioxide (SO2) limits for air emissions from solid and liquid fuels as part of STeP by OEKO-TEX®. Overall, the strict requirements for residues in textile materials should lead to a lower impact on the environment, workers and consumers.
As for recycled materials in Standard 100, the testing institute has developed a uniform approach to integrate them for greater sustainability as part of its Standard 100 and to meet the industry’s demand for used materials. This requires a minimum amount of recycled materials in each article, different test programs depending on the origin of the material and the definition of the necessary background information. A label will inform consumers about recycling in terms of a circular economy.
As part of the Leather Standard, OEKO-TEX®‘s partner institutes will also have the possibility to certify tanned leather free of chromium and metal.
In 2021, OEKO-TEX® also aims to observe various substances based on the latest scientific findings and compliance with relevant specifications. This primarily concerns some substances newly classified as SVHC, which, according to the REACH regulation for the protection of human health and the environment, have been identified as having particularly hazardous properties. These include isocyanates, which can trigger allergic reactions through skin contact and inhalation. The chemical compounds dibutyltin bis(acetylacetonate), 2-methylimidazole and 1-vinylimidazole will also be closely examined in the future, promises OEKO-TEX®.