By now you should know what kind of chemicals are present in your supply chain, and whether they are restricted or listed as problematic.
Do you want to do a bare minimum, and only fulfil your legal obligations? Or do you want to engage in substitution of the hazardous chemicals and implement a control and audit scheme?
Why should you act on chemicals in textiles?
Large amounts of chemicals are used in textile manufacturing. Some of these are hazardous and pose a threat to health and the environment.
The use of such chemicals might also damage your business and be a financial threat due to litigations, product recalls and damaged brand reputation, for example.
Set up a Restricted Substances List (m)RSL
The (m)RSL is the list of the chemicals you have decided to prioritise for phasing out from your production or products.
You can start your own (m)RSL from scratch, but even better is to be inspired by others. Once your (m)RSL is established it should be incorporated in purchasing agreements and communicated to the supply chain.
Let’s start substituting
Substituting hazardous chemicals with safer alternatives is a very effective way to improve the toxic footprint of your products.
It will not only make the final product safer, but will also help remove hazardous chemicals from the manufacturing process as a whole, creating better working conditions and a healthier environment on-site.
How did others substitute hazardous chemicals?
Many companies have already gone the extra mile and substituted hazardous chemicals in their supply chains. You can cut corners by studying how they did it.
Puma, G-Star and Marks & Spencers, to name a few. There is not a shortage of substitution stories from the world of fashion. If you study a few of the cases, you might find something you can replicate in your own business.
Control and audit
Ok, now you know what chemicals you want to avoid and you have informed all of your suppliers. Now you need to make sure they actually follow your requirements.
Through different control measures you can make sure that your products remain hazard free.