Existing wastewater discharge guidelines vary by brand, initiative, and country

Existing wastewater discharge guidelines vary by brand, initiative, and country

The group working towards the elimination of hazardous chemicals from the global textile and footwear supply chain is calling for input into its proposed wastewater discharge guidelines.

The Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) group is trying to create a single, unified wastewater discharge guideline and standardised analytical methods for monitoring wastewater quality after a review last year showed huge variations in wastewater guidelines published by different brands and initiatives.

The ultimate aim is to coordinate industry efforts, reduce duplication and clarify requirements throughout the entire industry.

For the next month, the ZDHC programme is seeking input from representatives from government, civil society, the private sector and other interested stakeholders. The final guidelines are due to be released in September.

Click here to access the Draft Wastewater Guidelines

The group's review of wastewater discharge guidance found a total of 17 different regulations covering 13 countries. Honduras was the only country researched that did not have regulations in place regarding industrial wastewater effluent.

A report produced at the time noted: "Though a few multi-brand consortia have worked towards developing industry wastewater guidelines, in recent years this engagement appears to have lost energy.

"In fact, guidelines developed in the past are now lagging behind current government regulations. This offers a unique opportunity to reinvigorate the topic."

The proposed wastewater quality guidelines focus on both ZDHC MRSL-listed chemical substances and conventional wastewater parameters to reduce or eliminate the risk of releasing MRSL-banned substances.

Members of the ZDHC programme include Adidas Group, Benetton Group, C&A, Gap Inc, H&M, Inditex, Levi Strauss & Co, M&S, Nike Inc and PVH Corp.