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Take credit for the sustainability in your product safety efforts

Responsible textile product manufacturers, sourcers, brands, and retailers take consumer product safety compliance very seriously. It’s usually required by law, of course, but the risk management benefits and brand reputation safeguards are also substantial rewards for a well-executed program.  As consumers become more interested in knowing about the textile products they buy, responsible companies with strong product safety compliance programs are most likely generating some marketable sustainability benefits as well. And it’s time to take credit for them.

Consumer product safety is the foundation of any sustainability strategy for any company including those in the textile industry. Products that pose hazards to the people who use them are inherently unsustainable no matter what other sustainability factors are considered. Safe products are a cost of doing business for any textile company these days, but especially those for who want to be perceived as sustainable and responsible.  So, what are the overlaps between product safety compliance and sustainability?

Management of Hazardous Chemicals

For textile products—clothing, home textiles, and the textile components of toys, bedding, furnishings, etc.—consumer product safety usually centers around harmful substances, or those residual chemicals that, if present, could negatively impact health. The list of concerning chemicals for textiles could include pesticides, carcinogenic dyestuffs, heavy metals, formaldehyde, and other substances known to be dangerous to physical well-being.

Robust chemical management programs are imperative to protect against harmful substances. Minimizing or ideally eliminating harmful chemicals from raw materials coming into the facility is a reliable tactic. Requiring certifications like ECO PASSPORT by OEKO-TEX® for textile chemicals that can be used in sustainable production or STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® for textile components that been tested for harmful substances helps make sure that inputs are compliant and sustainable themselves. The modular nature of OEKO-TEX® certifications permits textile products manufacturers to build on the OEKO-TEX® certifications of their suppliers, making it easier and more cost effective for their outputs to attain STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® certifications that can be marketed to brands, retailers, and consumers farther up the supply chain.

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