ZDHC Programme & Tools

The ZDHC Programme has identified four key areas and two cross-cutting areas critical towards achieving zero discharge of hazardous chemicals in the global textile and footwear industries.

The four focus areas are MRSL & Conformance Guidance, Wastewater Quality, Audit Protocol and Research, and the two cross-cutting areas are Data & Disclosure and Training

We believe focusing on these areas will allow us to have the greatest impact while also amplifying the work of other industry associations and non-governmental organisations. You can read more on these focus areas and our roadmap towards zero discharge here.

On an ongoing basis, we will publish the results of studies undertaken as part of this initiative. Documents listed below will be updated as soon as new information becomes available.

Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (MRSL) & Conformance Guidance

The ZDHC MRSL V1.1 is a list of chemical substances banned from intentional use in facilities that process textile materials and trim parts in apparel and footwear. The MRSL establishes acceptable concentration limits for substances in chemical formulations used within manufacturing facilities. The limits are designed to eliminate the possibility of intentional use of listed substances.

The intent of the MRSL is to manage the input of chemicals to the suppliers and remove those hazardous substances from the manufacturing process. It is a living document and will be updated as needed to expand the materials and processes covered and to add substances that should be phased out of the supply chain. 

ZDHC Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (MRSL) V1.1

MRSL Question & Answer Sheet

Interim MRSL Conformance Guidance 

Supplier Acknowledgement Letter

Chemical Guidance Sheets:



Halogenated Solvents


Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons/ Naphthalene 

Toluene Guidance Sheet

Chemical Hazard Assessment Guidance

Chemical Inventory Summary List

Long-chain Perfluoroalkyl Acids (LCPFAAs)

Nonylphenol (NP) 

Nonylphenol Ethoxylates (NPEOs)

Phthalates Guidance Sheet

Short-Chain Chlorinated Paraffins

Water Repellent Chemistry Research Report

Chemical Inventory Database

Wastewater Quality

Water efficiency is a critical aspect of sustainable and environmentally-conscious manufacturing, and while there have been efforts by individual governments, brands and even multi-brand consortia to create regulations, there exists no single industry-standard guideline that covers all discharge criteria.

ZDHC is creating a new standard in wastewater discharge that goes beyond regulatory compliance to ensure wastewater discharge does not adversely affect the environment and surrounding communities.

As a first step, the Programme has published a literature review of current Wastewater Discharge Quality Standards applicable to the textile industry.

This study establishes a baseline on which to develop a revised global industry wide guideline that can help improve the environment and communities that support the textile industry.

In 2016, ZDHC will release a Wastewater Discharge Quality Guideline which will create a single, unified discharge standard for the global supply chain for the footwear and textile industry.

Textile Industry Wastewater Discharge Quality Standards Guidelines Literature Review 

Audit Protocol

The audit protocol was developed to ensure consistency in environmental auditing across the supply chain and sharing of audit findings.

The protocol sets out the complete audit process for use by brands/retailers, facilities and their auditors when planning and carrying out a self-assessment or an environmental audit.            

Audit Protocol Report

Chemical Management Systems Guidance Manual


The ZDHC Research List serves to identify high priority chemicals and apply actions to them.

Working with key collaborators from the chemical industry, academic researchers and governmental agencies, the ZDHC Programme encourages research into the development of safer alternatives for substances on the ZDHC research list so brands can make informed substitutions and conduct research on priority chemicals for which options do not currently exist.

The following research outputs have been conducted so far: 

Research List

Framework for the Prioritisation of Hazardous Chemicals Rev1

Data & Disclosure

While implementing the Joint Roadmap, the need for integrated data management became apparent. The ZDHC Programme and its supply chain participants including mills, chemical companies and third-party service providers began exploring the challenges in data capture, reporting and global synchronisation.                      

In 2014, the Programme began developing a universal set of XML-standards to organise the way key chemical data should be collected and shared for the benefit of all stakeholders.

Even as individual brands begin to work towards using the data standards in their supply chains, the ZDHC Programme will work with other organisations to develop effective means for sharing and sychronising relevant data for our key focus areas.

Right to Know Disclosure Methodology Research

Historical Documents

Benchmarking Project Report

Benchmarking Report Addendum

China Regulatory Requirements

List of Analytes

Phase Out Statement

Joint Roadmap November 2011

APEO Letter

System Map