Chemical management specialist Oeko-Tex says the previously voluntary self-assessment will be mandatory for all production sites from April 2023.

The move is part of a series of updates to the applicable test criteria, limit values and guidelines for its certifications. The new regulations will finally come into force in the first quarter of 2023, after a transition period.

Other introductions include integration of the BHive app from GoBlu into Step, which will enable certified production companies to check sustainability requirements and chemical management in global supply chains. The new Oeko-Tex Organic Cotton certification will verify reliable labelling of organic cotton textiles starting April 2023.

Oeko-Tex STeP goes BHive
The BHive app, developed by GoBlu, enables manufacturers to collect information on all chemical products used on site, via smartphone, and determine which products meet the sustainability requirements of different brands and retailers. All information is automatically recorded in a chemical inventory so that brands can directly access transparent and precise data. Starting April 2023, Oeko-Tex STeP customers can utilise this comprehensive chemical database to reduce labour, time and costs. The intelligent system also aligns compliance with recognised industry standards such as the STeP and ZDHC MRSLs.

New certification: Oeko-Tex Organic Cotton
Starting April 2023, the new Oeko-Tex Organic Cotton certification will focus on reliable labelling of organic cotton textiles. “More and more consumers prefer sustainable textiles, and demand for organic cotton is growing rapidly,” said Oeko-Tex secretary general Georg Dieners. “But how reliable is their labelling?” In addition to the qualitative DNA analysis of the sample material (i.e., Does a product contain genetically modified cotton, yes or no?), a second step involves quantification – determining the proportion of genetically modified cotton in a cotton product. The aim is not only to check production, but to make the raw materials traceable through the supply chain. Dieners explains: “What’s new is that we will start checking for genetically modified cotton at the beginning of the supply chain – at the ginning stage when the cotton fibres are separated from the seed. Then we can follow the flow of goods through all stages.”

Oeko-Tex Eco Passport: Self-assessment to be mandatory in future plus adaptation to ZDHC update
Oeko-Tex Eco Passport certification has consisted of a mandatory CAS number screening and laboratory analysis. The self-assessment and the on-site visit to customers were voluntary. While the on-site visit will remain voluntary until further notice, the self-assessment will become mandatory for all customers’ production sites from April 2023. All certifications issued after 1 April 2023 must be accompanied by a valid self-assessment. For existing customers, there is a possible transition period. Oeko-Tex has issued a general ban on the use of perfluorinated and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS/PFC) in textiles, leather and footwear for the Standard 100, Leather Standard and Eco Passport certifications. This is in coordination with the ZDHC Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (ZDHC MRSL) version 3.0 and its new Conformance Guidance 2.0. Eco Passport will comply with these requirements in February 2023 to ensure a smooth transition for all customers.

Updates to Standard 100, Leather Standard and Eco Passport limit value catalogues
Additional pesticides have been added to Standard 100, Leather Standard and Eco Passport certifications, such as chlorothalonil in Annex 4 and 6, which were previously under observation. Also, three substances have been reclassified as Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) that may have serious effects on human health and the environment. In general, having strict requirements for certain substances reduces exposure to the environment, workers and consumers.

New under observation
In 2023, Oeko-Tex will continue to monitor various substances based on the latest scientific findings and conformity with relevant specifications. This primarily concerns the antioxidant drometrizole and the chemical compound N-ethyl-2-pyrrolidone. The 2023 new regulations are available in detail for Oeko-Tex products on the website. In addition, a webinar with detailed information is available to all interested parties on 16 January 2023.