The Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) Foundation and the Global Chemical Industry Round Table (GCIRT) have announced they are to collaborate on efforts to accelerate the phasing out of hazardous chemicals in the textile and leather value chain.

The announcement follows a year’s worth of intense dialogue between the two bodies. 

The GCIRT signatory companies will each be joining the ZDHC Foundation as contributors and uploading their products in the Chemical Module of the ZDHC Gateway via Bluesign’s Bluefinder tool. 

In a statement, ZDHC said the alignment with the chemical suppliers focuses on a “harmonised industry approach to implementation that reduces duplicative efforts and complexity in the value chain whilst clarifying and strengthening the role of the chemical industry as a whole in the ZDHC Programme”.

GCIRT’s members include Archroma, CHT Germany, Colourtex, DyStar, Huntsman Textile Effects, KISCO, Pulcra Chemicals Group, Rudolf GmbH and Tanatex Chemicals.

A spokesperson for GCIRT said: “This is a critical milestone towards addressing the demand for a cleaner and transparent supply chain. The engagement of leading chemical suppliers makes the ZDHC Programme implementation efforts more robust to mitigate societal and environmental risk for all textile and leather value chain stakeholders. It is only by working together that we will be able to shift the needle in the way we tackle urgent sustainability challenges in the textile and leather industry.”

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In a separate statement this morning (19 June), DyStar said the move would “support a faster transformation of the industry by taking the complexity out of the supply chain and to find appropriate solutions for the industries’ requirements.”

Dystar CEO Eric Hopmann added: “A holistic approach towards sustainability is needed considering all counterparts and stakeholders to put some real positive impact on businesses, people, and the planet. DyStar operations being the core and one of the most impactful stakeholders in the value chain, need to take a systematic approach for implementing sustainability. By joining the ZDHC, DyStar is committed to the vision of widespread implementation of sustainable chemistry, wastewater management, and environmental best practices.”

Meanwhile, in a third statement, Alexander Wessels, CEO of Archroma, noted the decision to join ZDHC as a contributor together with the GCIRT members is bringing the world’s most reliable chemical producers at the forefront of driving the change.

“I believe that this intensified collaboration between all stakeholders in the supply chain will strongly accelerate the adoption of dye and chemical manufacturing innovations and processes to help minimise risk to the consumer and the environment,” he added.

Meanwhile, Huntsman Textile Effects said it looks forward to a close and open cooperation with all stakeholders of ZDHC.

President Rohit Aggarwal added: “As one of the world’s leading chemical suppliers of sustainable textile dyes, we take a proactive approach in reducing the industry’s environmental footprint and eliminating hazardous chemicals. The collaboration with ZDHC is an important step in our journey towards a clean, compliant, ethical and thriving textile industry.”

The ZDHC Foundation manages the Roadmap to Zero Programme with the aim of phasing out hazardous chemicals in the textile, apparel, footwear and leather value chain by promoting safer chemistry and driving innovation. It has more than 130 active contributors.

In this, the fourth year of implementing the ZDHC Programme, the ZDHC Foundation exclusive focus is to accelerate the phase-out of hazardous chemistry in the textile and leather value chain based on the use of ZDHC tools and standards. Over time ZDHC will evolve the ZDHC Programme from a brand driven to a multi-stakeholder initiative with balanced roles and responsibilities within the ZDHC Programme.

“To further accelerate the transformation of our industry we need to engage with all relevant participants of the value chain to shape the ZDHC Programme from a finite ‘roadmap to 2020’ mission to an infinite ZDHC Programme with broad multi-stakeholder support,” said Frank Michel, executive director at the ZDHC Foundation.

Charles Dickinson, chair of the ZDHC board of directors, added:  “We are all in agreement, that the current situation of proliferation of detox approaches and their supporting testing schemes is ineffective and costly. Therefore, we acknowledge that we share a common objective in the alignment of resources that drive better chemistry and innovations that reduce the chemical and environmental footprint of the textile and leather industries.”