The sustainable journey for the textile industry is picking up at a fast pace and companies, especially those that provide inputs for the textile industry, are gearing up for new offerings as per market demands. ECO PASSPORT by OEKO-TEX® is credible proof of sustainable textile and leather chemicals that impact the global consumers, manufacturers, brands and retailers to walk confidently on the sustainable path.
The first step to achieving responsible textile and leather products starts with more environment-friendly production inputs. For trusted proof of safer textile and leather chemicals, brands and manufacturers are leveraging ECO PASSPORT by OEKO-TEX®, which recently reached the landmark – 10,000 certified chemical products.
Happy with the increasing acceptance of sustainable solutions, Vinod Kumar, Managing Director Hohenstein India & Global Business Director, ECO PASSPORT by OEKO-TEX® sees ECO PASSPORT – part of the modular OEKO-TEX® system – as an effective tool to minimise the industry’s harmful impact on workers, consumers and the environment.
As a founding member, Hohenstein is also one of the most important laboratories for testing within the framework of the OEKO-TEX® labels. In an exclusive interaction with Apparel Resources (AR), Vinod Kumar shares what makes ECO PASSPORT by OEKO-TEX® such a comprehensive sustainable solution
AR: Which products can be certified under ECO PASSPORT by OEKO-TEX®?
Vinod Kumar: All chemicals, colourants and auxiliaries used in the production of textiles and leather can be certified under ECO PASSPORT. This also includes formulations (i.e. chemical compounds) typical for the industry. Our goal is to remove harmful substances from textile & leather supply chain. With ECO PASSPORT, we proactively track down unwanted chemicals before they can enter the supply chain.
AR: How does the ECO PASSPORT certification process work?
Vinod Kumar: First, I’ll emphasise that disclosure is strictly confidential so that chemical companies do not have to publicly reveal their formulations. We conduct the analysis using a 3-step process that confirms that formulations and ingredients (chemicals with CAS numbers) meet strict criteria in terms of sustainability, safety and regulatory compliance. Chemical formulations are checked against OEKO-TEX®’s extensive list of substances of concern and then verified through laboratory testing. Product stewardship is verified through on-site company visits, where the manufacturer’s occupational health and safety practices, air and water protection measures and quality control are scrutinised.
AR: Is ECO PASSPORT certification based on other OEKO-TEX® services?
Vinod Kumar: Although ECO PASSPORT by OEKO-TEX® is an independent certification system, you can further exploit its advantages as a component of the modular OEKO-TEX® system. OEKO-TEX® services go deep into the supply chain and cover ECO PASSPORT as input control, STeP (Sustainable Textile Production) as process control and STANDARD 100, LEATHER STANDARD and MADE IN GREEN as output control.
AR: What are the benefits to chemical industry?
Vinod Kumar: ECO PASSPORT by OEKO-TEX® is designed to address the specific challenges chemical manufacturers face in complying with sustainability initiatives while protecting their intellectual property.
The system helps bring better chemistry into the supply chain and drives business back to chemical suppliers who prove that their chemicals protect consumers, factory employees and the environment. Independent, analytical verification creates a high level of trust with the ECO PASSORT product label helping to identify, validate and promote certified products. Suppliers also get to highlight their certified chemicals in the OEKO-TEX® Buying Guide, a free sustainable sourcing tool with over 10,000 monthly users, including manufacturers of clothing and footwear.
With ECO PASSPORT recognised as a ZDHC Level 3 indicator, suppliers can also comply with the highest ZDHC (Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals industry collaboration) requirements while protecting their intellectual property. Formulations certified according to ECO PASSPORT can be listed in the ZDHC Gateway – Chemicals Module.
AR: How do other participants in the textile chain benefit?
Vinod Kumar: When manufacturers, brands or retailers use ECO PASSPORT certified chemicals, they catch hazards early in the supply chain, rather than fixing them at the product level – prevention instead of reaction.
ECO PASSPORT aligns with the STeP by OEKO-TEX® manufacturing restricted substance list, which protects workers and the planet during textile and leather production. It also aligns with the STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® and LEATHER STANDARD by OEKO-TEX® restricted substance lists (RSLs), which regulate concentrations that are harmful to humans. For the product certifications, ECO PASSPORT is recognised as a pre-certificate and could reduce testing costs for downstream customers.
ECO PASSPORT is a strong part of the sustainable sourcing approaches and corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives for a growing number of global brands and retailers.