Oeko-Texs STeP assessment will be extended to leather production facilities from 1 April

Oeko-Tex's STeP assessment will be extended to leather production facilities from 1 April

The Oeko-Tex Association is to expand its sustainable textile production (STeP) assessment to leather production facilities next month.

The name of the certification will also be changed from 'Sustainable Textile Production' to become 'Sustainable Textile and Leather Production' – although the acronym STeP remains the same.

When it comes to environmentally friendly production, the leather industry is still in its infancy, the testing and certification group says, adding it is becoming increasingly important that leather articles are tested for harmful substances and that they are produced in a sustainable way.

STeP helps manufacturers to design production processes that are more environmentally friendly and sustainable and to communicate these services to others in a transparent way. In the context of active consumer protection, brands and retail companies can draw on products from certified facilities.

Until now, certification according to STeP was only available to producers within the textile supply chain. The new Oeko-Tex regulations will come into force following a three-month transition period.

"The demand for articles that have been tested for harmful substances and which have been manufactured in a sustainable and socially fair way is increasing – also with regard to leather articles. Consumers quickly learn that their buying decisions have an influence on their families and our environment. Brands, retailers, and manufacturers must be equipped for this awakening and with STeP we can offer them an ideal tool to do so," says Georg Dieners, Oeko-Tex general secretary.

Certification according to STeP is possible for production facilities at all stages of processing: from the beamhouse to the tannery to finishing and making up. The modular analysis of all relevant areas of a company such as chemicals management, environmental performance, environmental management, operational safety, social responsibility, and quality management enables STeP to conduct a comprehensive and reliable analysis of the sustainability of the facilities and where there is still potential for improvement.