“The release of the Wastewater Guidelines is good news for workers, consumers, and the environment," says ZDHC

“The release of the Wastewater Guidelines is good news for workers, consumers, and the environment," says ZDHC

The Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) Foundation has released a new set of wastewater guidelines aimed at harmonising expectations across the global apparel and textile supply chain.

The guidelines build on a study carried out last year that found there was no unified set of expectations for suppliers discharging industrial wastewater. This lack of consistency has led to confusion within the value chain, ZDHC says. 

"The release of the Wastewater Guidelines is good news for workers, consumers, and the environment," says executive director Frank Michel. "Suppliers will no longer face multiple guidelines depending on which brand they're dealing with, and brands won't face the challenge of individually ensuring each supplier is complying with their requirements."

The guidelines – a harmonised set of wastewater parameters, limit values and test methods – are free to download from the ZDHC website. They were finalised following an extensive process of collaboration with contributors, NGOs, suppliers, and a technical advisory committee. There has also been input from the public.

"Addressing this environmental challenge cannot be achieved alone," adds Michel. "To achieve meaningful, long-lasting impact, we need the entire industry, including NGOs, to adopt and support this standard."  

The guidelines have been endorsed by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) and have been built into the next version of the Higg Index. CEO Jason Kibbey says they are "a great step forward for improving one of the most impactful areas of apparel production."

Over the coming weeks the guidelines will be released in simplified Chinese, and a pilot programme will begin to implement the guidelines across several brands, countries and facility types.

Click here to access the ZDHC Wastewater Guidelines