1. Foreword

Our second Impact Report

“Sustainable chemical management stands at the core of environmental performance indicators such as water quality, air- and GHG emissions, energy and water pollution. ZDHC enables the global fashion and footwear industry to improve its environmental impact by implementing sustainable chemical management systems within their supply chains."

Frank Michel, Executive Director, the ZDHC Foundation

Read Disclaimer

Alongside profound challenges and suffering, the pandemic has also brought with it hope inspired by responses to this global crisis. It is found in the cooperation between governments, the pharmaceutical industry and academia to develop vaccines at an unprecedented speed. It is also found in the everyday compassion and resilience of friends, families and communities all around the world.

It has also revealed with absolute clarity how vulnerable our modern civilisation is; long confinements, travel restrictions and disrupted supply chains have deeply impacted lives and businesses across the globe.  

The scale of this impact is, worryingly, only partially indicative of the severe effects the multiple environmental crises we are facing could have on humanity and the world at large. The speed of it confronts us with the urgency of now - the fact that we do not have much time left as we reach an environmental tipping point.

Thankfully across the world many of us are tangibly heeding the warning signs and sustainability has dramatically risen up the global agenda.

At ZDHC we are inspired by this vital development and continue with our community to take collective action to effect positive change. Increasing collaboration powers our work forward in promoting and implementing sustainable chemistry throughout the global fashion and footwear industry in order to fight climate change, support biodiversity and protect the oceans and drinking water across the planet.

To achieve our mission, ZDHC is driving industry convergence towards exacting standards of sustainable chemical management. We are continuously scaling the initiative across the supply chain and we are increasing transparency on sustainability performance within the industry.

Increased collaboration
powers our work forward in promoting and implementing sustainable chemical management.

In our first Impact Report in 2019, we put out a call to action within our industry for “collaboration at an unprecedented scale” to create toxic-free supply chains to protect consumers, workers and the environment.

In this, our second Impact Report, we report on implementation progress and present recent developments within ZDHC and the industry at large.

We welcome the growing awareness in environmental sustainability within the global community of brands, customers and policy makers and progress in the regulatory environment for chemical sustainability such as the new EU legislation on due-diligence and governance in supply chains.

We report on ZDHC’s evolution into a multi-stakeholder organisation; we bring together businesses, civil society, governments, research institutions and non-government organisations to cooperate in the joint engagement and implementation efforts of the ZDHC Roadmap to Zero Programme.

We review our Programme implementation in 2020 by evaluating the industries’ efforts in eliminating toxic chemicals from their supply chains and the uptake of the ZDHC Sustainable Chemical Management Framework. Along with the scaling of our tools we also report on improvements and enhancements in our toolbox of chemical management solutions, grounded in manufacturing realities.

We see the deepening engagement and continuing growth in numbers of committed organisations joining our ZDHC community across all major stakeholder categories; Brands, Suppliers and Chemical Suppliers.

We detail the progress of our three ZDHC Leader Programmes; Brands to Zero, Supplier to Zero and our forthcoming leader programme for chemical suppliers. They comprise a self-reinforcing mechanism designed to foster an industry-wide momentum towards holistic, sustainable chemical management.

Whilst highlighting our collective impact we also renew, with increased urgency, our call for collaborative action and commitment to safer chemistry to all supply chain partners. Why? In the post-pandemic recovery period, the global fashion market is likely to grow again at an impressive rate, and as it does so, so too will its impact on the environment, from which it is not yet decoupled.

The quality of our shared future depends upon what we, together, do. We invite you to commit to a sustainable future for fashion. We share an individual and collective responsibility to act now.

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External perspectives

Our Impact -

Empowering consumers and fashion industry professionals with knowledge about the essential need for sustainable chemistry is a critical task in accelerating the shift to sustainable fashion globally.  

For some, chemistry can be a forbidding subject (perhaps bringing back unwelcome memories of school chemistry lessons!). We know that we have a challenging but vital communications task ahead of us. To bring some external perspectives to this process we reached out to a fashion designer, an academic and a fashion editor. We talked to them to find out what sustainability means to them and introduce them to ZDHC and its mission to detox the fashion industry.

Julia Hobbs
Vogue senior fashion & trends editor

Over the last decade, ‘sustainability’ has gone from an outlying criteria adopted by ‘sustainable brands’ to a measure by which the fashion industry as a whole now has to adhere to.

Nathalie Khan
Central Saint Martins lecturer, fashion historian, curator

Sustainability has become an incredibly important topic in fashion education as we instil and promote ways of thinking about critical practice and a more conscious engagement with process and making. Debates surrounding an open and transparent approach when it comes to fashion production is not new, but more needs to be done when engaging with manufacture as well. We teach our students that everything tells a story, and this goes beyond image. Every button, and every thread is part of the narrative as well.

Edeline Lee
a London Week Fashion designer

As an independent designer your business is your life, so I wanted to create a sustainable company that can feed itself, feed its employees, pay everyone properly and make things that are beautiful, have meaning and are sustainably produced. It’s all connected. It’s about how I want to spend my time and live my life.

3. experts  IN FASHION

Industry experts perspectives

Our Impact -

ZDHC is a community that brings together professionals and experts united in a mission to create a truly sustainable fashion industry. Essential to our collective effort is clear communication between all of us - the sharing of insights into the problems, innovations and solutions that comprise the task at hand.

4. community growth

Our global coverage

From its inception in 2011 with six founding brands, the ZDHC Roadmap to Zero Programme has grown rapidly and is now adopted by 163 contributors, comprising brands, manufacturers, chemical suppliers and solutions providers. Our movement continues to gather critical mass as we expand.

New stakeholders from across the world are regularly joining our community. During 2020, 15 new contributors and 3 new Friends joined ZDHC on our collective journey towards sustainable chemistry.

As of the end of May 2021, we are now a collaboration between 30 brands, 114 value chain affiliates and 18 associates – all organisations that are active in the textile, apparel, leather and footwear industry. We’re also pleased to welcome 11 brands who have joined as Friends of ZDHC for an initial 12-month period, as they consider making a more lasting commitment to the programme.

This growth has broadened ZDHC’s global representation and the continuing growth in traffic to the ZDHC Gateway underlines our relevance to the industry, globally.

How we Started -
About ZDHC

Many of the world’s top selling brands are part of ZDHC, collectively accounting for around a fifth of the global apparel and footwear market in revenue ¹

ZDHC is active in all the top textile exporting regions (China, Europe, India, U.S.) ²

  • China maintains its position as the top producer and exporter of textiles
  • The U.S. remains the world’s largest producer and exporter of raw cotton
  • The E.U. continues to hold its position on in the world, as one of the most important markets in terms of size, quality and design, demanding higher value added products

Our community of chemical supplier stakeholders is growing: 6 out of the top 10 key textile dyestuff companies in the world are ZDHC stakeholders ¹

  1. Statista, April 2021
  2. WTO 2020

“The team, too, has grown and we now have over 30 employees. While this is substantial progress and growth, we are at the beginning of another growth phase. In the coming years, we will further scale ZDHC’s guidelines, platforms and solutions to increase our collaborative impact. This means working with more organisations, brands, suppliers and manufacturers to continue to effect change within the fashion and apparel industry.”

Philipp Meister,
Chair, Board of Directors,
the ZDHC Foundation


impact areas

Our Impact -
Less discharge

As we continue to successfully scale and implement our programme, an emerging focus of our communications is to explain to the ZDHC community, consumers and the fashion industry at large, how our collective work plays a critical role in achieving sustainability on a global scale. We’ve identified four key impact areas where sustainable chemical management makes a critical difference through systems change: 

Interview with
Manfred Santen, Toxics Campaigner

In conversation with Greenpeace:

Chemistry expert and Toxics Campaigner from Greenpeace Germany, Manfred Santen, talks to us about the industry’s progress and responsibility in detoxing its supply chain.

ZDHC: Greenpeace launched its seminal Detox My Fashion campaign in 2011. A decade on, how would you describe the industry’s progress in detoxing its supply chain?

MS: Overall, we are happy with the results. Now there are more than 80 companies committed to Detox, so our interpretation is that the textile industry is on a good path towards more sustainable production. There has been an important shift towards addressing the biggest hazardous chemicals problem in the textiles industry, no longer looking mainly at the final product, but  focussing on hazardous chemicals being used in the supply chain. This was the start of the fashion industry taking responsibility for many other environmental impacts in their supply chains.  Most recently, circularity has become the buzzword, and although it has a role to play the fashion industry has not yet accepted the more overriding need to slow down and stop overproducing, through changing business models. 

ZDHC: Could you outline Greenpeace’s position on the fashion industry’s responsibility to detox its supply chain?

MS: We think brands who make money by selling textiles are responsible for their entire supply chain of production. So, not just their tier 1 or tier 2 suppliers. That was a long discussion at the beginning of the campaign. All of the companies provided their suppliers list, “Here you go, we buy from these production sites, this trader and we have our rules in terms of sustainability.” Then we said, ‘‘Okay, do you know exactly what happens where, in respect to all the different production processes?” It turned out that many companies had knowledge about some of their supply chain but did not oversee all of it. This was very important, coming to an agreement that we are talking about the whole portfolio of the company, not only parts of it. 

We think brands who make money by selling textiles are responsible for their entire supply chain of production.

ZDHC: Following-up on the thread of conversation from our previous interview in 2019, can you give us Greenpeace’s view on what ZDHC is doing well and where we have to get better?

MS: ZDHC continues to raise the bar with its new initiatives, such as its Leader programme being extended to chemical formula manufacturers to incentivise the use of safer alternatives and increasing the focus on the original source of hazardous chemicals, and the plan for Leaderboards to highlight leaders and give them credibility.

It's encouraging to see the 41% increase in manufacturing facilities reporting their wastewater on the ZDHC Gateway, with 70% of ZDHC Brands requiring their suppliers to report wastewater data.  We also welcome setting a new minimum goal for Contributor brands to report wastewater data from 60% of their supply chain, but believe that increasing this to 80% is achievable, as many Detox committed brands have demonstrated already. This target will be a reminder to the 30% of brands that are not reporting their suppliers’ data, to catch up fast.  NGOs and consumers also really need to see these percentages reported by brands in one place.

The ZDHC DETOX.Live map continues to evolve and has great potential, but for NGOs such as Greenpeace there is a frustrating lack of access to the wastewater data.  Oversight and verification by civil society is needed to add credibility to the data and the platform -  the transparency of wastewater data published by suppliers on the Chinese NGO IPE’s platform is the backbone of our Detox Campaign.  Therefore we need ZDHC to look beyond verification within the industry and allow civil society and local communities to have access to wastewater testing results.

ZDHC: What do you think are the biggest challenges we face in realising a truly sustainable fashion industry?

MS: First of all we would like to see the textile or fashion industry stick to the progress made so far and make sure there is no falling-back into old behaviours. This could still happen. That is why we are campaigning for political decisions and regulations on chemical management. Members of the ZDHC Foundation fortunately do this as well, in a way. Political changes take time but are very important to consolidate change. For example, REACH is still one of the most important regulations regarding chemicals, but only in Europe and not East or South-East-Asia. Asia should adopt some of those regulations. But REACH also has to be improved. We and the Contributors of the ZDHC Foundation work on this, so we can put pressure on politics. According to the Green Deal, there is a statement from the European Commission that they want to go in that direction and that gives us as NGOs, and ZDHC as a pressure-group of the industry, much more space to do good things towards sustainability.

and that gives us as NGOs, and ZDHC as a pressure-group of the industry, much more space to do good things towards sustainability.

ZDHC: What specific actions would Greenpeace like to see the fashion industry prioritising right now to achieve our common goal of eliminating all hazardous chemicals from supply chains?

MS: Well on the macro level, more companies from the fashion industry, and the broader textiles industry, need to be engaged in eliminating hazardous chemicals from their supply chains, so that the same high standard becomes universal.  Beyond the voluntary engagement of companies, working together with regulators is key, as ZDHC has done by supporting Greenpeace’s case study for the proposed German Supply Chain Law with evidence on how Detox producer responsibility is implemented in global supply chains.   

On a more specific level, while ZDHC will be increasing the scope of hazardous chemicals in its MRSL through its candidate list, it needs to keep ahead of the game. For example, on PFAS, regulators are catching up fast, it's time for ZDHC to move the entire class of PFAS from the candidate list to its full MRSL.  ZDHC Contributor brands should all be adopting the latest version of the MRSL by a specified date, to maintain progress for all brands.  

Finally, heavy metals remain the most challenging of all the original priority groups identified by Greenpeace, and consistently appear in wastewater effluent.  Because they are being listed separately to the organic hazardous chemicals, heavy metals are often not included in data showing progress on eliminating hazardous chemicals in wastewater discharges. Because they’re less visible, less attention could therefore be given to strategies for addressing the problem of heavy metals.

ZDHC: How do you think the pandemic has affected this challenge of increasing sustainability? Has it interrupted, or set us back, or what’s the impact been? 

MS: The pandemic exposed the flaws in the fashion industry, in a shocking way. Suppliers were left without payment, sometimes in mid-production, exposing the vulnerability of suppliers in the Global South producing fast fashion for Western consumers. In Europe, containers full of 2020 season’s clothes were left unsold, much of which became waste - raising the question, were they even really needed in the first place?  As a result, the need to re-think the system has become more pressing.  Fast fashion needs to slow down. As Greenpeace showed in reports like Fashion at the Crossroads, it is vital to tackle the big and increasing problem of overproduction, poor quality and lack of durability.

ZDHC: Looking to the future, where do you see the biggest drives for positive change in the fashion industry coming from? From consumers? From policy makers? From within the industry itself? 

MS: Well, hopefully it’s all of them, of course. Consumers are very important and many years of Greenpeace campaigns have proven that nothing changes without public pressure. Everyone has to consider their impact on the environment. Many young people understand that unlimited consumption is not sustainable. Looking at young people’s movements, it gives us more hope than there was five years ago. These young people also love fashion, so they will have a good influence on your favourite brands, I’m sure! 


Data is
our power

How we Started -
Article by Lydia Lin

“ZDHC’s Manufacturing Restricted Substances List was a key step in expanding the focus of chemical management from end of pipe to beginning of pipe – but in essence, it’s a list that tells companies what chemicals they can’t use,” said ZDHC’s Programme Director Scott Echols. “What we had to do was address the concerns of manufacturers who were saying to us, ‘tell us what we can use.’ And that’s where the ZDHC Gateway Chemical Module comes in.”

Launched in 2017, the Chemical Module is an advanced search engine for chemical formulations that conform to the ZDHC MRSL. Textile, apparel and leather manufacturers can use it to find safer alternatives and substitute hazardous chemicals in their production processes. It maps products against existing chemical accreditation such as bluesign, GOTS or OEKO-Tex STeP, and more to provides manufacturers with documentation to determine the level that a chemical product conforms with the ZDHC MRSL.

“To explain this in different terms, imagine, for example, I asked a chef to use only organic, pesticide-free ingredients and then sent him a list of all the pesticides he couldn’t use,” said Echols. “It wouldn’t be of much use.”

“But what if I told him to go to the organic food section of the store and choose produce from there? Well, perhaps he then wouldn’t trust the handwritten sign, so he might look for existing certifications which could indicate a level of trust that these products are truly organic.”

In this way, Echols says, the Gateway Chemical Module builds on the ZDHC MRSL by providing a “positive list” of safer chemical formulations. The product rating is based on third-party product accreditation standards which show to which level (with levels ranging from 0 to 3) a chemical product conforms with the ZDHC MRSL. A high-level rating of conformance indicates a high level of confidence that the chemical formulation conforms to the ZDHC MRSL.

Since its launch, Echols says, the ZDHC Gateway Chemical Module has been a valuable tool for companies interested in safer chemistry. And, it’s proof positive of ZDHC’s commitment to easing regulatory confusion of chemical management standards.

Gathering reliable data at scale is critical to our mission to increase transparency throughout the fashion value chain. We are continually investing in and developing our platforms and tools to achieve this.

The ZDHC gateway has grown to become the world’s largest database dedicated to enabling safer choices of chemical products available to the textile, apparel and footwear industry. By the end of 2020, 1,427 chemical formulators are using the ZDHC Gateway, and it publishes data on 42,939 chemical products. The suppliers who use it, standing at 4,670 in number at the end of last year, are able to review and analyse key information on chemical products to determine whether they conform with the ZDHC MRSL. The ZDHC Gateway which provides the data to verify compliance with ZDHC MRSL requirements, includes, at the end of 2020, nearly 7,500 published wastewater test reports from 87 ZDHC accepted wastewater testing labs across 4 continents. 

Our Impact -

quote TBD :  on Gateway API - “now we can all measure impact with the same tools.”

Nike representative

“By providing us with the necessary data and tools, ZDHC Gateway has been instrumental for H&M Group in securing our supply chain is free from hazardous chemicals. Through ZDHC Gateway, our suppliers’ 500+ facilities are able to select chemicals that are tested and reviewed according to ZDHC MRSL. This has been the key step in securing 100% ZDHC MRSL compliance. Drawing from the concept of MRSL, we believe that a proper management of chemical input is essential for the subsequent processes to achieve sustainable production.”

Mia Gunawan

Sustainability Program Manager for Chemical, Global Sustainability, H&M Group

Our Impact

How we Started -
How we started

Our Story

Ten years ago, Greenpeace issued a wake-up call to the fashion industry with its “Detox My Fashion” campaign. It revealed the disastrous impact the manufacturing of clothes and shoes has on the environment. Especially alarming, Greenpeace’s “Dirty Laundry” report exposed how suppliers in China working for global fashion brands were directly contributing to water pollution by dumping toxic wastewater into rivers and streams.

The industry immediately took action. A coalition of leading fashion brands pledged to eliminate hazardous chemicals from their supply chains and stop polluting waterways by 2020. This was the start of the ‘zero discharge of hazardous chemicals’ now known today as just ZDHC.

Now, a decade on, ZDHC is firmly established as a multi-stakeholder organisation based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, with a clear mission: enabling brands and suppliers throughout the industry to detox their supply chains and protect workers, consumers, and our planet. To achieve this we created our Roadmap to Zero Programme and are working with a growing number of stakeholders.

At the end of 2019, as we approached our initial milestone of our roadmap 2020, we published our first Impact Report. We found that we’d created a mindshift in the fashion industry, moving the focus from harmful substances in finished products, to eliminating hazardous chemicals throughout the manufacturing process. Our wastewater testing data showed that 98% of facilities following our programme had no detections of chemicals included on our MRSL (manufacturing restricted substance list) wastewater parameters. In other words, our programme is working.

Building on these successful foundations, we shifted gear with a renewed industry commitment towards delivering an infinite Roadmap to Zero Programme. We’ve set ourselves the goals of expanding ZDHC’s reach by bringing more stakeholders on board, improving the quality of our data, converging initiatives and brand programmes to minimise duplication of effort and to enable the rapid scaling of the Roadmap to Zero Programme.

Keep reading to learn about what we’ve achieved in 2020, and the goals we’re working on for the way ahead

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1. key message

Affirming our positive impact

How we Started -
How we started

Since publishing our first Impact Report, we are pleased to report our positive impact in eliminating hazardous chemicals from the textile, apparel and footwear supply chain has proved resilient and ongoing. 

Our findings underline the practical and holistic impact that the ZDHC guidelines, platforms and solutions implemented by the ZDHC community are having on creating positive change and confirms that companies pursued sustainability improvements even during the challenges of the 2020 global pandemic.

98% of suppliers who carried out wastewater testing in 2020 had no detections of restricted substances from the ZDHC MRSL parameters for wastewater.

Why not 100%?

What is the reason behind the continuing presence of hazardous chemicals in wastewater, in small frequencies?

While we can say with confidence that the ZDHC Community is no longer intentionally using the ZDHC MRSL chemical substance groups, the issue that’s preventing us from phasing out 100% of MRSL listed substance groups is that of Unintentional Use.

The term “Intentional Use” refers to hazardous chemicals that are used deliberately in the textile supply chain to achieve a desired look or functionality.

What is meant by “Unintentional Use” and what are the reasons for detecting ZDHC MRSL chemical substances in wastewater?

  • The continuing presence of hazardous chemicals in wastewater, in small frequencies, could be due to industrial cross-contamination by Brands who are not engaged with ZDHC, but who use the same supplier site for manufacturing.
  • Another reason may be due to chemical impurities or contaminants that unintentionally end up in textile formulations. For example, even if a chemical supplier does not intentionally use a chemical substance that is on the ZDHC MRSL, it may exist as a contaminant or by-product in a textile formulation. Chemicals used in textile production are not as pure as those used in food or pharmaceutical products for example.
  • Furthermore, contamination at the chemical formulation manufacturing site can happen in absence of global chemical regulations. Some chemicals are regulated in some countries and not in others, and therefore may be used at some Suppliers sites in certain locations.

Now that you know the difference between Intentional and Unintentional Use, you might ask yourself… Which ZDHC MRSL parameter limits are most often exceeded?

The top 5 MRSL parameters exceeding the acceptable limits as determined by ZDHC, in 2020 are:

4-chloroaniline and 4,4’-methylenedianiline
These substances belong to the “Azo Dyes - Forming Restricted Amines” group. Their presence may be formed by the use of certain restricted azo dyes. The azo bond can cleave to form restricted amines that may be carcinogenic.

Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)
This substance belongs to the Perfluorinated and Polyfluorinated Chemicals group. PFOA may exist as a contaminant in PFC’s. These chemicals are intentionally added to some products to provide Durable Water Repellant (DWR) or stain management benefits.

Mono-, di- and tri-methyltin derivatives.
These substances are in the Organotin Compounds Group and have many functions in the industry. They may be used as preservatives for wood, paper, textiles, leather, and glass or to provide protection to heat and light in PVC plastics. They are also used as catalysts in the production of polymeric materials, such as polyurethane (PU)-coated fabrics, or in plastisol prints, rubber, adhesives etc. They may also be used as biocides or preservatives in textiles, leathers and PU. Silicone-based finishes (e.g., for elastomeric properties and water repellency) may also contain organotins.

This substance belongs to the Volatile Organic Solvents group. Within apparel and footwear supply chains, VOCs are widely used in chemical preparations and in combination with other VOCs as cleaning agents (solvents). These solvent mixtures are often used for cleaning purposes for products and machinery. Some VOCs are used in adhesives, fabric and leather coatings, screen print inks, and synthetic leather. VOCs may be found as impurities in polystyrene-based resins used in the production of plastic trims. In addition, VOCs may be used in processes such as dry cleaning, finishing, degreasing or cleaning operations.

The analysis is based on Suppliers’ wastewater test report data, published on ZDHC Gateway for the April 2020 testing cycle. Suppliers’ sludge data are excluded from the analysis. Also, the focus was on the Wastewater Guidelines for textiles, which means that leather is excluded.

Our Impact -
Article featuring Prasad Pant

Disclaimer for the graph above: 

We would like to point out that this graph reports the percentage average per MRSL chemical group and each group includes a differing number of MRSL parameters for wastewater. The sample of suppliers per MRSL chemical group also differs, therefore no conclusions can be drawn on a total average between these chemical groups. 

Note that the above data graph can not be compared to a similar graph that was included in last year’s Impact Report 2019. 

Since we identified the areas of impact in our first Impact Report 2019, more stakeholders have joined the ZDHC community and platforms. Therefore this Impact Report 2020 uses data that does not present a like-for-like comparison with the previous year.  

Additionally please note: 

1. In 2020, ZDHC completed an improvement project on published wastewater test reports. The project included a two-step approach; data audit and cleansing of the published wastewater data and development of electronic data reporting (EDR) and data validation for future data entries.  

The completion of the project resulted in better quality data and a more complete set of wastewater test reports making the 2020 data analysis more robust

2. The Impact Report 2019 leveraged the analysis based on a sample of Suppliers that had consecutive testing between 2017-2019. The same sample could not be used in 2020 as for the above mentioned data quality improvements. The Impact Report 2020 therefore leverages the analysis including all Suppliers that conducted testing of wastewater for the April 2020 testing period. 

WHY NOT 100%?

Wastewater testing explained

Learn about Wastewater testing and how it verifies the progress of manufacturers of fashion and textiles to minimise the negative impact on the environment.

Suppliers play an important role in eliminating harmful chemicals in the supply chain. To measure their performance, ZDHC analyses wastewater test reports published on the ZDHC Gateway, verified by a ZDHC approved third party.

Wastewater testing is based on the ZDHC Wastewater Guidelines. Following a thorough review of existing industry guidelines, ZDHC published its first version in 2016. Instead of one, these guidelines appoint two sets of requirements to Suppliers, for two different groups of parameters.

The first set consists of testing requirements for ‘conventional quality parameters’, for example BOD, COD and metals. The second set, distinctly ZDHC, consists of testing requirements for the restricted substances on the ZDHC MRSL.
Conducting wastewater testing is a fairly complex topic - so allow us to break it down for you: choosing the type of water to test is the critical first step.

For conventional parameters, the testing should occur on discharged (treated) wastewater, given that the wastewater treatment facilities are designed to improve the quality of water, as demonstrated by measuring parameters such as BOD, COD, TSS etc.
For ZDHC MRSL parameters, untreated raw wastewater is a better water sample to evaluate because the presence of any chemicals in the water shows that the ZDHC MRSL requirements have not been met.

Learn more about our focus on output water, the ZDHC guidelines and Wastewater testing - visit the Output section on our Roadmap to Zero website


What about Metals

What about phasing out chemical substances from the group of metals? 

Metals, such as Cadmium, Mercury and Nickel, follow the same trend as the MRSL parameters for wastewater. Specifically, 97% of Suppliers who reported a value for metals in the April 2020 reporting period, met the requirements that are set by the Wastewater Guidelines.

What about Metals

In 2020 we saw an noticeable increase in the active engagement between brands and suppliers. This reflects the broadening movement throughout the industry towards sustainable chemistry and its thorough implementation at operational level.

As we scaled the Roadmap to Zero Programme, the number of active manufacturing facilities Suppliers on the ZDHC Gateway increased by 41% in 2020 compared to the previous year. The ZDHC Gateway, the world’s largest database of sustainable chemical products for the fashion industry, is being used more than ever. The number of wastewater test reports published on the platform has increased 52% since 2019.

“It’s been wonderful to see the progress that has been made across the industry, as more companies come to see how important sustainable chemical management is to their business, their sustainability aspirations, and the communities where they operate. It’s been a priority of ours for many years and will continue to be, because there is still much work to be done to get us where we need to be.”

Manuel Baigorri
Senior Director Global Sustainability Value Chain, Levi Strauss & Co.

2. key message

Improving supply chain transparency

How we Started -
How we started

To effect positive change we rely on clear, verifiable data on sustainability performance. With the help of the ZDHC Implementation Toolbox, brands are effectively implementing our sustainable chemical management framework requirements throughout their supply chain.


The ZDHC Toolbox

We have created chemical management tools which are designed to enable the industry to be more transparent about the use of chemicals in our value chain. They offer support in finding safer alternatives for the substitution of hazardous chemicals and help assess the performance of facilities in their efforts of implementing the ZDHC programme.

Chemical Module is the world’s first verified database of safer chemistry for the apparel and footwear industry. It enables suppliers to evaluate the ZDHC MRSL conformance level of chemical formulations used in production processes.

Wastewater Module is a global online platform to register and share verified wastewater test data against the ZDHC Wastewater Guidelines. Via the ZDHC Gateway - Wastewater Module, ZDHC continues to promote transparency in an opaque supply chain.

ZDHC InCheck Report is a universally accepted chemical inventory standard that enables suppliers to measure their input chemistry conformance via an online inventory assessment.

ZDHC ChemCheck is a ZDHC MRSL Conformity Certificate specifically for chemical formulators to use to prove the conformance of their products to their customers.

ClearStream gives suppliers a way to understand and communicate their laboratory’s wastewater test results. By doing so it helps them to position as a leader in striving for environmental protection.

The ZDHC Academy is the go-to training platform to create awareness, build knowledge and enable skills on sustainable chemical management and ZDHC tools along the textile, apparel, footwear (including leather) supply chains.

The Implementation HUB is the vehicle with which ZDHC is driving continuous improvements and progress around our offerings for brands, retailers and manufacturers with regard to baselining, strategy setting and implementation. The HUB leverages existing expertise and offers a platform to find ZDHC accredited experts for chemical and environmental management projects.

Accordingly we are constantly evolving our tools and increasing the transparency of wastewater reporting to verify suppliers’ compliance with our guidelines. In 2020, we introduced electronic data reporting (EDR) for laboratories that conduct suppliers’ wastewater tests. This has resulted in significantly better quality and more complete data on the ZDHC Gateway.

This platform is also evolving to enable increasingly
efficient data flow, by integrating a API (Application Programming Interface) technology it now allows equal access to the data for Brands and Suppliers. By October 2020, 63% of suppliers fully complied with all ZDHC MRSL parameters for wastewater, up from 55% in the previous reporting period April 2020.

Our DETOX.Live map shows, via colour coding, suppliers that are on the ZDHC Gateway and who have verified test results. The real-time data is checked in line with requirements set in the ZDHC Wastewater Guidelines, so it’s transparent, accepted by everyone and easily shared.

visit detox.live
3. key message

Spearheading industry-wide convergence

How we Started -
How we started

Reaching the next milestone on our journey, requires us to play a pivotal role in enabling collaboration across the industry to converge initiatives and brand programmes towards our global framework for sustainable chemical management. By implementing the ZDHC MRSL, uniformly across the industry, the duplication of effort previously caused by suppliers adhering to their customers’ varying requirements, is eliminated. Over the past years, global brands including Levi Strauss&Co., H&M and Inditex have converged their individual initiatives with ZDHC’s Roadmap to Zero programme.

ZDHC milestones 2022 - 2030

The next milestones

We have identified our focus areas for the next 10 years to drive even better chemical management, more deeply into the supply chain. Our objectives and goals include:



By 2022, initiatives and brand programs will be converged. Through collaboration, we are spearheading the convergence of initiatives and brand programmes to reduce complexity, minimize duplication, avoid confusion and enhance the speed and scale.



By 2025, we will expand our organization and create an infrastructure in other relevant textiles regions including Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas.



By 2030, our mission will be to ensure ZDHC safeguards a supply chain free from hazardous chemicals. Our work will be cemented and will be considered as normal business practices rather than best practices!

To accelerate industry wide convergence and ZDHC’s positive impact, we have conceived three leader programmes:

Brands to Zero is our leader programme for brands. Each year, they are assessed on their progress in implementing ZDHC guidelines, according to a set of key performance indicators. The 2020 assessment confirms around 80% of Brands have specified their implementation plans leveraging ZDHC tools, and the majority set key performance indicators (KPIs) for their procurement-related teams. Furthermore we found that our Brands’ commitment to safer chemistry is embraced throughout their corporate cultures, and they actively monitor goals and results.
To ensure a fair and neutral assessment process, we mandate KPMG to carry out the Brands to Zero evaluations based on qualitative and quantitative data.

Visit Brands to Zero to learn more about this leader programme

Interview with Marijke Schöttmer

ZDHC  brings together brands and retailers committed to making a positive impact, and suppliers who implement sustainable chemical management practices - to protect our environment, communities  local to production facilities, worldwide and  consumers who use and enjoy the products every day. 

In this short interview we hear from Marijke Schöttmer, Lead Manager Environmental Protection at Tchibo GmbH to get his insight into how the ZDHC solution works.

ZDHC: Can you share your views on the importance of the Brands to Zero programme for you as a global Retailer? How does this programme help you build your roadmap to sustainability and improvement? 

Tchibo: The annual assessment of the Brands to Zero programme provides a solid basis  from which to keep revising and improving our Detox Strategy and Programme. This quantitative assessment is crucial to review our performance, track improvements and set common goals. The programme informs our strategic direction, since it reveals the areas in which we need to improve. So the assessment has a strong impact on our Detox Strategy and our way forward. Additionally, the overall performance score helps to understand how we perform compared to other brands. This benchmark challenges us to keep up with the best practices and performance leaders in the industry. 

ZDHC: Setting clear expectations is proven to generate improvement - can you share a highlight or experience from 2020 that showed in your assessment how you performed?  What have been the minimum expectations that could be enforced despite the impact that the pandemic has on the global supply chain?

Tchibo: In 2020, Tchibo scored above average in the Brands to Zero assessment. It is very motivating to see our hard work and progress being acknowledged. It shows that we are on the right track and that we have a considerable impact on the improvement of chemical management in the global textile supply chain. 

However, the 2020 assessment was about 2019 performance. During this year’s assessment we will need to factor in the challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Throughout 2020, most of the supply chain programs were heavily affected by Covid-19 and implementation on the ground might have been lower than usual. Yet, we adapted our programs and provided immediate support for our supply chain partners to overcome the crisis.   

ZDHC: Brands are a driving force for behavioural change throughout supply chains. How does the Brands to Zero Programme help you continue to push forward and scale sustainable chemical management implementation? (prompt: by streamlining expectations for the implementations within supply chain, shared perspective on performance etc) 

Tchibo: Collaboration is fundamental! Tchibo believes that only collective action can transform the industry. That’s why we are highly engaged in multi-stakeholder initiatives like the “Zero Discharge Hazardous Chemicals” initiative (ZDHC) to promote the industry-wide implementation of Detox standards. The programme helps to set common goals for the industry and to align individual brand approaches. It allows for an industry-wide agreement on a minimum level of engagement in the supply chains and facilitates change much more effectively than individual actors each working alone.

ZDHC: We have focused on converging the industry onto a common, global framework of solutions. How has the programme helped avoid duplication and confusion and maximise efficiency in your Roadmap to Zero journey? 

Tchibo: The Brands to Zero assessment allows a shared, quantitative approach to measure the roll-out of every brand’s detox activities as well as tracking improvements. Back in the day, each brand used different metrics to report their performance. Now there is a shared baseline to evaluate levels of engagement as well as improvement over time and overall industry impact. Also, the programme helps to avoid duplication and provides suppliers with an aligned goal.

Our Impact -
Article featuring Prasad Pant
How we Started -
Article by Lydia Lin

Launched in June 2020, Supplier to Zero is our leader programme designed to align and speed up supply chain implementation of ZDHC guidelines and solutions. It helps us to closely monitor the Roadmap to Zero performance on the ground, at factory level, a vital expansion of ZDHC’s reach and ability to effect long-term change.

Since its launch, Brands are increasingly monitoring the implementation of ZDHC guidelines throughout their supply chain – 70% of Brands require their suppliers to adopt the Wastewater Guidelines. Additionally the adoption rate of the ZDHC Gateway and its tools by ZDHC contributors across the supply chain is increasing.

Visit Supplier to Zero Programme to learn more about this leader programme
Important note about the data

Prasad Pant’s experience of the textile industry spans no less than 3 decades. With a degree in Textile Chemistry he has worked for chemical companies, consulted textile processing, dye and auxiliaries manufacturers on better chemicals management for much of his career. Pant has made it his life’s mission is to raise awareness of the health and environmental impacts of hazardous chemical substances still commonly used by various industries in a region that lacks legislation. Although he believes regulations can put pressure on the industry to comply, Pant firmly believes that the urge for safe and sustainable chemistry should come through voluntary means.

In 2018 Pant therefore welcomed the opportunity to join ZDHC, as Mumbai-based regional director promoting the programme’s common standards throughout South Asia. When he first began liaising with textile companies on behalf of ZDHC, one of the first challenge he faced was clearing up misconceptions about what the organisation does.

“When I started talking to stakeholders about ZDHC, some were confusing it with India’s Zero Liquid Discharge wastewater strategy, while others thought it was a certification program, such as OEKO-TEX,” saidPant. “I had to explain that ZDHC is a holistic program for chemical management; it’s not a certificate you can hang on the wall, it’s about actions that you have to take.”

After just 18 months on the job, he said clarity and understanding of the program have increased greatly. That’s also because the seeds for change in South Asia were sown earlier, following the establishment of the ZDHC Foundation in 2016.

Friends of ZDHC, December 2018 - Amsterdam

“That’s when the biggest impact started, also because the onus shifted to the chemical industry. The MRSL has expanded the mindset from the end of pipe to the beginning of the manufacturing process,” he said.

This mind shift is essential, given the sheer size of the fashion and footwear manufacturing sector in the countries Pant oversees. India alone is the world’s second-largest producer of textiles and garments after China. It’s a growing sector, estimated to surpass US $200 billion by 2021. In addition, Pant oversees ZDHC’s activities in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Aside from increasing the number of ZDHC value chain affiliates throughout the region, he said the biggest challenge now is getting more people to understand how to use ZDHC tools, and how best to take corrective action should wastewater testing reveal nonconformities. This is where ZDHC’s Implementation Hub comes into play. “Via the hub, we’re raising awareness of the ZDHC program through workshops, roadshows and other forms of engagement with stakeholders,” said Pant.

He sees a willingness to initiate lasting change – especially among South Asia’s younger generation of business leaders. They are not conforming to the traditional way of doing business in this part of the world. “They have a global outlook and want to align with a more global way of doing things,” he said.

“I know it’s a mammoth task, and that it can’t be done overnight,” Pant said. “But I know that creating a better understanding of the impact of safe chemical management will lead to better conformance. People in the industry are starting to understand that they’re not just doing it to conform with some mandatory push by the brands they supply. Rather, they understand that what they’re doing affects themselves, and the next generation.”

Looking ahead, Pant said he and his colleagues in South Asia have defined several targets.

He plans to scale up the work he’s already doing by approving more consultants who can continue to engage with manufacturers in the textile supply chain. And he said there’ll be a greater push to start tackling the leather industry in India and Bangladesh, including a ZDHC training module specifically for tanneries. Plus, he said it’s time to expand ZDHC’s impact focus from companies serving the export market to the domestic fashion and footwear industry, particularly in India.

Our Impact -
Article featuring Prasad Pant
How we Started -
How we started

ZDHC Brands, Retailers and Value Chain Affiliates work together to create a culture of change and accelerate collaborative impact to progress towards zero discharge.

For each of the three programmes, we will launch leaderboards, showing how ZDHC Contributors are performing on the Roadmap to Zero Leader Programme, based on our KPIs. Those who reach the Aspirational Level serve as clear, leading role models within the ZDHC community and enjoy public credibility. Read more about this in the next chapter.

4. key message

Continuing to grow our impact

How we Started -
How we started

To capitalise on the momentum created by the strong growth we are seeing in the number of stakeholders committing to ZDHC across all three key segments, it is vital we continuously improve and scale the tools that maximise impact:

We made it easier for brands and suppliers to harmonise and communicate the requirements for sustainable chemical management practices with our ZDHC CMS Technical Industry Guide. Launched earlier this year, it provides simple, structured, hands-on guidelines to all manner of facilities, from tanneries, dye-houses and mills to printers and footwear assembly units.

We introduced guidelines to the Performance InCheck to help suppliers reference their chemical product listings at their respective ZDHC MRSL Conformance Level. Standardising this process helps enhance the accuracy of listings and triggers performance improvements for the suppliers.

The updated ClearStream - the wastewater test report summary generated by the ZDHC Gateway - will help suppliers interpret their performance and aid brands to more closely monitor the implementation of ZDHC Wastewater Guidelines throughout their supply chain on an ongoing basis.

Alongside these developments we also see room for improvement in relation to overall water quality. While our data shows we have successfully reduced the presence of hazardous chemicals in wastewater samples, when it comes to conventional wastewater parameters we need to help the industry improve its performance. We will start discussing this in our meetings with ZDHC Advisory Groups to help the fashion industry achieve sustainable practices that preserve our planet’s aquatic system and improve the water quality holistically.

The way forward

Whilst affirming our positive, collective impact so far, it is imperative that we continuously develop our tools, strategies and implementation of effective sustainable chemistry. We believe in a mindset that strives towards ever increasing levels of sustainability. In this chapter we set out the four key areas of our current focus.

We believe in a future for fashion that is driven by the “consumer right to know”. To realise this vision and empower the industry to become increasingly sustainable, we invest in processes that maximise transparency and the traceability of chemical inputs in the supply chain, innovate to enable effective chemical substitution and encourage our stakeholders to regularly communicate their chemical footprint.

1. focus area

Enabling transparency and traceability

Numerous chemicals are used throughout the value chain to help produce functioning and fashionable apparel and footwear. They are needed to spin fibre into yarn, pre-treat, dye and finish fabrics, or produce leather used to make accessories or shoes. Understanding their varying impact on the environment and people is extremely complex.

Transparency of the manufacturing processes of textile and leather is key

Digital technology makes such ambitions achievable. Through chemical traceability it is possible to dissect the life cycle of a product, revealing: its purchase date, the origin of each of its components, which farm grew the cotton from which it is made, the mill that processed it into a textile and the chemical plant that dyed its colour. 

ZDHC is mapping the use of blockchain technology to evaluate the chemical footprint of fashion. In 2019, we commissioned the London-based consultancy, A Transparent Company, to explore ways to increase transparency within supply chains and enable product traceability to ultimately accelerate the transition to a circular economy. 

Our work resulted in the launch of a set of guidelines in 2020 for a Multi-stakeholder Ledger: the catalyst for data harmonisation and alignment of entry points across stakeholders including but not limited to social, environmental, governance and finance. 

Learn more on Blockchain technology project: read the “Proof of Trust in Fashion” report

In 2020, ZDHC started a collaboration with The Sustainable Angle to address the knowledge gap on chemical performance that exists within the textile industry, through business-to-business methods. During the Future Fabric Expo 2021, a global fair for textile sourcing, the ‘Chemical Criteria stamp’ will be launched to enable suppliers to inform designers, product developers, clients and customers about their chemical performance. The performance criteria are based on current measures defined by the ZDHC leader programme Suppliers to Zero.     

January 2020

"Proof of Trust in Fashion" report

Download the executive summary

February 2020

Joined forces with UNECE

March 2020

Started the collaboration with The sustainable Angle

April 2020

public launch of “Detoxing the Fashion Industry - for Dummies

Download your free copy

Going forward, ZDHC will continue to invest in promoting and enabling supply chain chemical transparency and traceability. We are working towards creating visibility on the product's footprint. Imagine a future in which we are able to communicate each and every product’s impact. 

ZDHC’s ultimate goal is to strengthen consumer rights. Thereby we will actively contribute to the key chemical control regulation in the European Union under REACH, most specifically the “consumer’s right to know” how safe their products are.

Learn more about REACH and your “consumer right to know”

Learn more about REACH and your “consumer right to know”

Consumers are becoming increasingly interested in and concerned with the safety of the products they buy. Therefore, the EU introduced, via REACH, Article 33 the “consumer right to know”. Companies are now obliged to answer any consumer inquiry about whether a SVHC may be present in an article, within 45 days. Under REACH, consumers have the right to know whether the articles they buy contain any substances of very high concern (SVHC). A SVHC can be carcinogenic, mutagenic, toxic for reproduction, (CMT) persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic in the environment (PBT).

For more information visit the European Union website to read the REACH document
Our Impact -
Article featuring Prasad Pant
2. focus area

Introducing systemic innovation

The Way Ahead -
3 Hazardous chemical groups

Eliminating hazardous chemicals across the global value chain is an epic challenge. At ZDHC we meet the gravity and complexity of this task with a culture of innovative systems design that strives for ever more sustainable chemistry.

One of our key strategies to effect change swiftly and at scale is to address the problem at source. The forthcoming launch of the ZDHC leader programme for chemical suppliers, will provide a comprehensive platform for the chemical industry to source safer chemical products at the entry point to production in accordance with the ZDHC MRSL requirements. The programme aims to further catalyse innovation that moves the entire fashion supply chain towards more sustainable chemistry, minimising pollution and waste and increasing fashion circularity at scale.

The goal of the ZDHC leader programme for chemical suppliers is to ‘design a credible, transparent, science-based, simple and suitable system that evaluates chemical formulations, while holistically supporting the development of more sustainable chemistry and preventive strategies to replace undesired substances (according to the ZDHC MRSL).’

How we Started -
Article by Lydia Lin

Chemical Supplier Advisory Group

On the importance of the leader programme for sustainable chemistry

We interviewed two representatives of the ZDHC Advisory Group of Chemical Suppliers - Dr. Pierfrancesco Fois, Executive Director, ETAD, Ecological and Toxicological Association of Dyes and Organic Pigments Manufacturers and Andreas Bayer, Head of Division, German Chemical Industry Association (VCI)  about sustainable chemistry and the role of the forthcoming leader programme in improving sustainability performance among chemical suppliers.

Our Impact -
Article featuring Prasad Pant

ZDHC: The forthcoming  ZDHC leader programme for chemical suppliers will provide a comprehensive platform to enable the industry to source safer chemical products that meet ZDHC MRSL requirements at the starting point of the production process.

How does the uptake of sustainable chemistry prompt and stimulate investments in better product quality and innovation?

ZDHC Advisory Group of Chemical Suppliers: For many chemical companies, sustainability is not a new concept. For years, this aspect of chemical production has been integrated by responsible chemical suppliers in the development of new products or the improvement of existing ones. Obviously, such new products can only be successful on the market if there is an interest for them down the value chain. This has, until now, not always been the case. So, to answer your question, the active uptake of sustainable products by the supply chain is the only way to enable the process of improvement. When customers of the chemical industry express their preference for the more sustainable products, manufacturers will respond and invest accordingly in this line of research and development, or even increase existing investments and efforts in sustainable solutions. It has to be underlined that, along with the demand for more sustainable chemical products choosing these products, good communication between the chemical industry and its customers is paramount to ensure the products are used in the right way. Sustainability is always connected to the correct use within the correct process. This communication should ideally also be an opportunity for both parties to identify which attributes are relevant for the development of additional sustainable processes and solutions. 

ZDHC: The ZDHC leader programme for chemical suppliers aims to bring all relevant stakeholders around the table, to create an  approach that is aligned across the industry.

How do you feel about it? Can you comment how you see the role of this programme to drive the collective impact of the chemical suppliers industry?

ZDHC Advisory Group of Chemical Suppliers: The chemical industry welcomes every initiative that will bring alignment to the industry. Nowadays, the quality of products is assessed in different ways by many evaluation systems, which are not mutually compatible. Agreeing on the equivalence among different references would simplify the work both chemical manufacturers and customers have to do in this respect. Even better would be to have alignment on a single reference system. In that regard the ZDHC MRSL has been successful at aligning the industry on a common set of standards. The ZDHC Accepted MRSL certifications is the first step on this long journey towards a single standard recognized by all with all service providers. To align behind a single Restricted Substance List (RSL) is still a goal we are working towards.  This evolution can only take place with the collaboration of all relevant stakeholders, and we see it as the goal of the ZDHC leader programme for chemical suppliers to establish agreed tools which are recognized and used by all stakeholders within the value chain. Besides streamlining references, the programme should help acknowledge the continuous work of responsible companies to provide high-quality products/ solutions and create increasing visibility for them. 

This evolution can only take place with the collaboration of all relevant stakeholders; we see it as the goal of the ZDHC leader programme for chemical suppliers to establish agreed tools which are recognized and used by all stakeholders within the value chain.

ZDHC: The programme aims to further catalyse innovation that moves the entire fashion supply chain towards more sustainable chemistry, minimising pollution and waste and increasing fashion circularity at scale.

Can you give an example?

ZDHC Advisory Group of Chemical Suppliers: The task of the program is to enable the promotion of products which, in their characteristics and performance, offer an improvement in their overall sustainability profile in comparison to ‘classic’ processes and solutions.  Along with the minimization of hazard and risk management, which has long been part of the responsible manufacturers’ product optimization process, many other aspects have to be considered. For instance, products developed according to this holistic approach are already available on the market and their adoption should be further scaled. Some selected general examples are:
• Formulations which allow a relevant reduction of water and energy consumption by standard application processes (e.g. in dyeing or pre-treatment processes);
• Specific products for digital textile printing to move away from water-intensive textile dyeing;
• Targeted products for specific fastness requirements (e.g. extremely high lightfastness for car interiors), which guarantee high durability;
• Use of recycled raw materials to create new products

3. focus area

Fostering a culture of leadership in sustainability

Our Impact Report 2020 marks the second, annual assessment of our Brands to Zero leader programme in which we highlight the achievements of the best performing brands. 

By celebrating the success of the most effective Brands through our leaderboard, ZDHC is proactively working to foster a culture of progressive and aspirational leadership in the fashion industry.

In our Brands to Zero Assessment 2021, a brand achieves the ‘Aspirational Level’, the highest of the three possible categories of success, when they attain a sufficient total score on all KPIs and fulfils selected KPIs determined by ZDHC. The KPIs are focused on assessing the way ZDHC guidelines, platforms and solutions are embedded into a Brand’s corporate strategy, and implemented in their supply chain practices. The leaderboard will highlight the top performers and provide background information to KPIs and metrics.

The Brands to Zero leaderboard will move the perception of impact from performance reporting towards creating public credibility to give the brands the opportunity to share their rating and highlight their contribution within the community.

The Way Ahead -
Engage, Educate, Expand
4. focus area

Unifying Forces

The Way Ahead -
3 Hazardous chemical groups

If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. Old proverb

The fashion supply chain is complex. To effectively amplify positive impact and minimise its negative effects on people and the environment, collective and synchronised efforts are both necessary and desirable. 

To accelerate our positive impact, ZDHC is co-creating and collaborating with like-minded organisations within the industry to converge initiatives that increase sustainability throughout the fashion supply chain. 

ZDHC co-founds the Apparel Alliance

In September 2020 ZDHC co-founds the Apparel Alliance between The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), Textile Exchange and the Apparel Impact Institute (Aii). The formation of the Apparel Alliance will align resources and offers provided to the global value chain. 

“Our ultimate objective is to increase efficiency in the near term to accelerate our collective impact,”

says Frank Michel, Executive Director,
the ZDHC Foundation

“There are some very exciting points of complementarity possible, and I think we have the right initial organisations at the table to do that. Ultimately, we see this alliance as an open resource for the industry’s sustainability initiatives, a platform for long-term, efficient industry engagement. COVID is a wake-up call. We have to continually innovate to preserve our work as a core industry investment.”

adds Lewis Perkins, President of the Apparel Impact Institute (Aii)

The Way Ahead -
The next milestones

ZDHC Gateway integrates the Open Apparel Registry ID 

The integration of the Open Apparel Registry (OAR) Facility identifier (ID) into the ZDHC Gateway is leading to improved insights into facilities and is expediting collaboration between brands and facilities. Sharing data openly through platforms like the OAR increases transparency within the supply chain and accelerates progress towards a sustainable future. 

”Arvind has been closely engaging with OAR since the early days of development of this unique platform. Collaboration with ZDHC further enhances the value for manufacturers and supply chain partners and also validates the utility of the platform. The collaboration will drive the OAR and ZDHC's vision of radical transparency towards reality” 

- Abhishek Bansal, Head of Sustainability, Arvind Limited

Read more in our news article
final message

Closing word

“Our job is far from done”
remains our guiding mantra at ZDHC, despite the progress we have made.

We have made substantial progress as an organisation since our last impact report, and are now at the beginning of another chapter in our story, one that will be characterised by further growth and ambition. In the coming years, we will further improve ZDHC’s guidelines, platforms and solutions to increase our collaborative impact. This means we will work with more organisations, brands, suppliers and manufacturers to continue to effect real change within the fashion and apparel industry.

We invite you to join our journey and share our mission to detox the fashion industry. Help us to keep improving by sharing your expertise with us so we can create a better future, together. You can play your part by leveraging all the resources available via our platforms, and understanding and implementing sustainable chemical management in your business. We ask you to be determined in your contribution to our collective positive impact and address the current global challenges. 

As a consumer, we ask you to assert your rights for more sustainable fashion by demanding transparency from your favourite labels and exercising your influence by choosing who to follow, engage with and purchase from. We will amplify your voice in the coming years and continue to educate both the industry and consumers, globally, on the vital role of sustainable chemistry in realising a culture of responsible, sustainable fashion.