Premium sportswear producer Löffler has become the first company in Austria to be awarded the STeP certificate for sustainable textile production.

The company's production facilities were tested using the web-based assessment tool developed by Oeko-Tex.

This included audits measuring the handling of chemicals and possible hazardous materials, environmental performance, implementation of an environmental management system, company responsibility in relation to employees, efficient quality management and safety in the workplace.

Löffler managing director Otto Leodolter described the award as a "major milestone", adding: "It allows us to ensure a consistent and transparent production process - including our certified upstream and downstream stages".

Löffler produces more than 1.3m pieces of clothing each year, with around 60% being exported to countries such as Germany, Switzerland and Italy.

Around 70% of all materials processed by the company are from its own knitting mill in Ried, Upper Austria. Around one third of all sewing work is still carried out directly at the Löffler site in Ried, and partner companies in the Czech Republic and Bulgaria are also involved in production.