Testing and certification specialist Intertek has launched a new global initiative aimed at driving up social responsibility and quality standards at textile mills.

The company is partnering with retailers, brands and fabric mills to launch the programme, designed to achieve better solutions for the social, environmental and quality performance of fabric mills around the world.

Known as the Mill Qualification Program (MQP), it aims to address the challenges faced by retailers and consumer brands to help suppliers in understanding and achieving social and quality expectations.

"The successful promotion of responsible textile production depends on emphasising performance and cost benefits, in addition to sustainability value," said Andre Raghu, president of Intertek Sustainability Solutions.

"This pioneering initiative will provide the global textile industry with a new operating environment to understand when sustainability factors are effectively integrated into business strategies and operations of fabric mills, allowing purchasers to weigh several key factors and take a best value approach in their buying decisions - not just price."