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January 14, 2019

Apparel brands merge screened chemistry approaches into ZDHC

Levi Strauss & Co, Nike, H&M and C&A have agreed to share and align their screened chemistry approaches – and hand the future development of the programmes to the ZDHC Foundation, which is working to steer the industry towards a goal of reducing the discharge of harmful chemicals to zero by 2020.

By Beth Wright

Levi Strauss & Co, Nike, H&M and C&A have agreed to share and align their screened chemistry approaches – and hand the future development of the programmes to the ZDHC Foundation, which is working to steer the industry towards a goal of reducing the discharge of harmful chemicals to zero by 2020.

Screened chemistry is the concept of identifying safer alternatives whilst eliminating hazardous chemicals. A screened chemistry approach is critical for ensuring that human health and environmental impacts are fully evaluated before adopting alternative chemistries and in doing so avoiding regrettable substitutions.

Although the efforts of the four ZDHC signatory brands were not initiated together, the core elements of their different screened chemistry methodologies are said to be remarkably similar – both in their approach and ultimate goals.

To further develop and scale screened chemistry, ZDHC has also established a dedicated Roadmap to Zero Programme Task Team for Safer/Screened Chemistry, which will work towards convergence with the existing elements of the ZDHC Programme.

Whilst being aligned with the ZDHC MRSL (ZDHC Manufacturing Restricted Substances List) approach, screened chemistry aims to go much further by recognising that the elimination of hazardous chemicals requires a clear process for identifying and evaluating alternatives to make sure they are less harmful. It also requires collaboration across stakeholder groups as some chemicals will require innovation to enable elimination.

Converging these initiatives and doing so within the ZDHC Roadmap to Zero Programme facilitates a significantly broader engagement and provides a clearer business case to drive innovation.

In recognition of their work so far, the four brands will form the core of the new ZDHC Roadmap to Zero Programme Task Team and will invite contributors from other brands and partners to continue to drive this fundamental and important initiative.

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