BARCELONA – At the forthcoming Planet Textile Summit on sustainability next week at ITMA 2019 in Barcelona, a high-level breakout session led by Frank Michel, the CEO of the ZDHC Foundation will provide advice and practical examples of how to eliminate the discharge of hazardous chemicals from textile production.

The session will also feature expert panellists Veera Sinnemaki, Chemical Global Sustainability manager, H&M; Jeff Hsu, R&D manager, Far Eastern New Century and resident Ecotextile News correspondent Phil Patterson, the manager of Colour Connections who’ll flag up the challenges, practicalities and the business case for the implementation of the ZDHC MRSL (manufacturing restricted substance list) and its harmonised wastewater discharge guidelines.

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“Why should the industry jump on board?” and “What is the business case to do so?” will be key questions to answer, and delegates will hear how brands and retailers are already working with suppliers to show how this is happening. Also, now that Greenpeace has seemingly handed the ‘Detox’ mantle over to the ZDHC, for now at least, what does this really mean for the industry? What will really change?

The discussion is timely. Over the next week there is expected to be a series of new industry announcements that could represent a game-changing shift on transparency and accountability in the textiles chemical sector (watch this space).

“The ZDHC session at Planet Textiles 2019 at ITMA – along with the CEO session on chemical management – will be a perfect platform to roll out these new initiatives to the industry and also, to get any immediate feedback,” says John Mowbray, Founding Editor of Ecotextile News.

The full agenda is available here.

The pressure for the textile chemicals sector to clean up now being ramped up by NGO’s, regulators and even consumers, due to more advanced ways of communicating. Young people are much more informed about climate change and toxicity than previous generations – the slightest ppm release of toxic substances into the environment now deemed as totally unacceptable.

And this special Planet Textiles session on ‘zero tolerance of textile pollution’ aims to give the industry a practical, yet broad overview of how working closely with the ZDHC can help to tackle this problem and how textile suppliers and brands can meet tougher consumer and regulatory expectations.

An interesting angle on the discussion will be what are the next steps forward by the ZDHC now that Greenpeace has taken a ‘Detox pause.’ Can enough real-world progress be made by the industry before the end of the 2020 Detox deadline to ensure that the world’s largest environmental pressure group does not come piling back into the industry?

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