ZDHC Impact Report 2023

Welcome Letter
by Frank Michel

Dear reader,

I warmly welcome you to this year’s edition of the ZDHC Roadmap to Zero Impact Report. This report shares our journey over the past year, detailing our progress, celebrating our milestones, and highlighting the challenges that remain as we continue our mission toward sustainable chemical management. I am honoured to serve as the CEO of ZDHC, an organisation leading the global value chains in achieving the highest standards of sustainable chemical management across the fashion industry and beyond.

This year, we have expanded our reach into South America, starting in Brazil, marking a significant step in our global journey. We have introduced critical milestones like Chemicals to Zero and redefined our Stakeholder Engagement by building closer relationships with solution providers. These strides are vital as we continue to implement the Roadmap to Zero Programme and prepare to deliver on our 2030 Impact Strategy.

Expand full cover letter

Our vision is clear

By 2030, 100% of chemical formulations used in the ZDHC Community and 70% of those used globally will conform to the ZDHC MRSL. This ambitious goal necessitates unwavering dedication and systemic change, a challenge we are fully committed to. The support and commitment from brands are pivotal in driving continuous improvement. Systemic change is not about marketing headlines, but about foundational efforts. It requires a harmonised approach from NGOs, policymakers, and the industry, all working together towards realistic goals. Change is a journey that calls for ongoing collective action.

Data is the new gold of the 2020s

To measure our impact and progress, we need reliable data, which requires investment in infrastructure, transparency, and collective action. There is no free ride—achieving good data demands collective investment and stakeholder engagement.

After nearly a decade of leading ZDHC, I am deeply appreciative of the unwavering commitment of our brand partners, the chemical industry, and the invaluable support from NGOs. Your dedication has been the cornerstone of our success and has brought us to where we stand today.

Our work is far from done. Let’s stay focused on the milestones ahead to achieve our 2030 goals.

For those of you who are not yet part of the ZDHC community, we invite you to join us on this journey. We have no time to waste building a cleaner, more sustainable, and equitable world for all.

CEO of the ZDHC Group since June 2023, based in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Leverages over 20 years of experience in chemical compliance and sustainability, pioneering multi-stakeholder initiatives within the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry.

Frank Michel


Better Chemistry,

Welcome letter by Francesco Pianca

Dear reader,

Welcome to our 2023 Impact Report. As Chair of the Board, it’s both a privilege and a pleasure to contribute to the progress of ZDHC's shared vision.

Our organisation stands at the forefront of a transformative era, where better chemistry isn’t just about innovation and progress; it’s about the protection of every living being. It’s about preserving the delicate balance of our environment – from the air we breathe to the waters that sustain life. Decarbonisation, biodiversity, and circularity all depend on chemistry. Every aspect of sustainability concerns us – and that’s a huge responsibility we are committed to taking on.

The landscape of sustainable chemical management is also evolving rapidly, driven by an avalanche of new regulations and directives. While some may view these regulatory changes as hurdles, we see them as catalysts for positive change. They are not barriers but accelerators, propelling us forward faster than ever before.

Expand full cover letter

Embracing collective values

Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a fresh face, you wouldn’t be reading this report if you didn’t embrace our values and the responsibility toward humanity and nature. Your dedication is what carries us forward.

Together, we have the power to leverage these regulations to our advantage, to accelerate meaningful change, and to lead by example in our industry.  

Chemistry plays a pivotal role in meeting and surpassing the requirements of these new regulations, and we have the opportunity to challenge ourselves to think innovatively and to find solutions that protect our planet and drive sustainable growth. Let’s remember that each of us plays a crucial role in this journey. Let’s listen to each other’s perspectives with an open mind, recognising that diversity of thought is essential to progress.

Partnering for progress

We are coming together as a community of brands, suppliers, chemical formulators, machine manufacturers, solution providers, and most of all as responsible citizens united by a common purpose. So, let’s make use of our collective wisdom to step up the game and pave the way for a brighter, more sustainable industry.

Enjoy reading all the successes highlighted within these pages.

These accomplishments were the dreams of a small community that formed 13 years ago. That lively community is now so much bigger, with a reach that is global. It provides the north star, and the global industry is rowing in that direction. That’s a unique achievement, something that we could only dream of when ZDHC started.

While flipping through, take a moment to envision the world you would like your children to grow up in – a world free of hazardous chemicals. May we continue to turn our wildest dreams into proud achievements!

Once again, welcome, 
and thank you 
for being champions 
of our shared vision.

Director for Quality Assurance and Sustainable Manufacturing at Burberry based in London, UK. Also Chair of the Board of Directors of ZDHC. Textile and Apparel industry expert with deep technical knowledge of production processes.

Francesco Pianca 

ZDHC Foundation Board Chair 



Connecting the dots since day one

About ZDHC

Creating a clean global fashion value chain free of harmful substances is possible when we work together.
Who are we?

ZDHC is a multi-stakeholder initiative driving transformation across the textile, apparel, leather, and footwear industry. We work hand-in-hand with a growing committed community of brands, suppliers, formulators, and manufacturers as they journey toward safer chemical management. In doing so, we harmonise collaboration and emphasise education to drive collective action at a global scale.

Our vision

is a world in which better chemistry leads to the protection of life, land, air, and water.

Our mission

is to lead our global value chains to achieve the highest standards for sustainable chemical management, driving resource efficiency and circularity. 

We are unified in our approach.

Chemistry is all around us.  It plays a fundamental role in life on our planet and is central to ZDHC's activities.  We have aligned the industry on a global framework for sustainable chemical management with the ZDHC Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (MRSL). But we have also evolved over the last decade to apply our expertise to encompass the entire value chain. Now, we use an end-to-end approach covering the supply chain from raw materials to products. By preventing harmful substances from entering the global textile value chain in the first place – we work to reduce negative impacts on biodiversity, improve water stewardship, and enable a circular fashion economy.

Real change requires all our skills and expertise

We have cultivated deep partnerships among our stakeholder community of brands, suppliers, chemical formulators, and machinery manufacturers to build sustainable solutions in chemical management that advance environmental, social, and economic well-being.

We also see the potential of extending the ZDHC MRSL beyond the fashion industry. The global chemicals value chain is interconnected, and industries such as automotive, consumer electronics, product packaging, and home furnishings all share chemical suppliers with our stakeholders. We can leverage our learnings and system to create a broader ZDHC MRSL ecosystem across industry sectors that accelerates a reduction in harmful substances use.

We have ambitious goals

ZDHC’s holistic approach makes our aims achievable. By 2030, we want 100% of chemical formulations used in the ZDHC Community and 70% of chemical formulations used in the global industry to conform to the ZDHC MRSL.

We adhere to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal framework.

All of ZDHC’s work is embedded in the UN SDG framework. This joint effort detoxes the industry and helps to achieve the UN’s SDG goals, especially those related to clean water and sanitation, responsible consumption and production, and life below water.

Our Signatories

We’re fashioning a global movement together – join us!

We can all make a difference, and ZDHC Signatories are the driving force of our success. As a signatory, you commit to supporting the ZDHC Roadmap to Zero Programme and contribute to its development. The Roadmap to Zero Programme is a collaborative, multi-stakeholder initiative that aims to eliminate hazardous chemicals from the global fashion industry value chain.

How ZDHC helps and supports its signatories

Signatories of the ZDHC Roadmap to Zero Programme are dedicated to eliminating from the fashion industry’s global value chain.  

ZDHC supports its signatories with comprehensive guidelines, platforms, and solutions designed to drive sustainable chemical management. By leveraging ZDHC’s resources, signatories can make a significant impact, effectively contributing to a safer and more sustainable fashion industry and protecting life, land, air, and water. At the same time, these collaborative tools save time and effort that would otherwise be required by each individual company to create and update their own Guidelines and Tools.

Brands and Retailers

For brands and retailers, ZDHC offers the following to help them move towards a world where safer chemicals are used, leading to the protection of life, land, air and water.

Show more information
Show less information


For manufacturing suppliers, ZDHC offers the following to help them move towards a world where safer chemicals are used, leading to the protection of life, land, air and water.

Show more information
Show less information

Chemical Suppliers and Formulators

For Chemical suppliers and Formulators, ZDHC offers the following to help them move towards a world where safer chemicals are used, leading to the protection of life, land, air and water.

Show more information
Show less information

Machinery Manufacturers

ZDHC will soon offer guidelines, platforms, and solutions to help support manufacturers shape industry standards. Machine manufacturers will gain access to ZDHC Gateway infrastructure, a collaborative space to develop technologies that meet ZDHC’s established environmental standards, and access to networking opportunities.

Solution providers

Approved Solution Providers are linked to ZDHC data infrastructure via an API and seamlessly connect to the unique ZDHC platforms.supplier performance data.

Show more information
Show less information

Industry associations or other NGOs

Access to the Roadmap to Zero Logo, inclusion in ZDHC publications/events, internal document access, guideline development participation, Supplier to Zero invite privileges for associations, and waived ZDHC event fees for two attendees.

ZDHC is made up of a large, diverse community

To help speed up and scale the implementation of Sustainable Chemicals Management (SCM), we have created Adoption Tools.

These tools are designed to:

Converge individual corporate approaches.

Drive and evaluate the uptake of the ZDHC MRSL SCM Framework and Implementation Tools.

Help stakeholders benchmark and monitor their impact progress.

Ensure the credibility of the organisation holding users and contributors accountable for implementation.

ZDHC’s Adoption Tools can accessed within our Roadmap to Zero (Rtz) Leader Programmes by Brands, Suppliers, and Chemical Suppliers, with future programming in development for Formulators and Machinery Manufacturers. They are supported by Solution Providers who carry out the Leader Programmes (Brands to Zero, Supplier to Zero, and the forthcoming Formulators to Zero, and Machinery Manufacturers to Zero).

While the global fashion industry is complex and diverse – for example, clothing ranges from luxury leather to outdoor apparel – we have nonetheless grouped stakeholders into the categories to simplify the implementation of our Adoption Tools.

How Signatories Get Rated

Brands to Zero (BtZ)
Suppliers to Zero (StZ)
Chemicals to Zero (CtZ) and Formulators to Zero (FtZ)

Touching Base With Greenpeace

An interview with Maddy Cobbing, Greenpeace Germany

Now ZDHC can say it’s a living example of how to implement solutions at scale.

It has been over a decade since Greenpeace’s Detox My Fashion campaign prompted groundbreaking change, and the ZDHC continues its impactful journey in the global fashion industry.  Greenpeace acknowledges ZDHC’s evolution and emphasises the need for further alignment with radical solutions in the face of growing fast fashion challenges and environmental repercussions. Despite progress, the industry’s shift towards circularity and sustainable practices demands a deeper commitment. ZDHC's involvement in shaping the new Global Framework on Chemicals highlights its potential to lead transformation in the textile industry and beyond.


Our Impact

Explore the stories that bring ZDHC's achievements to life

Good tools and even better solutions

Our Committed Community trusts the Roadmap to Zero Programme to encourage progress through input, process, and output activities.

We have collaboratively established industry-wide standards, like the ZDHC MRSL and Sustainable Chemicals Management Framework (SMCF). The MRSL lists the chemicals to be banned, and the SCMF sets out a step-by-step approach for adopting and implementing the ZDHC Roadmap to Zero Programme by stakeholders in the global fashion value chain, including on-site management of chemicals and chemical-related waste to ensure proper use of chemicals and safe storage & handling for worker safety. We continually update our wastewater guidelines and have created comprehensive solutions, such as ZDHC’s Gateway.

What do we measure?

We measure the conformance of chemical inventories to our MRSL and the quality of released wastewater. The Roadmap to Zero Programme evaluates suppliers based on conventional parameters and MRSL compliance, ensuring comprehensive monitoring of treated and untreated wastewater.

We want to produce new guidelines or guidance documents for any kind of industry concern.

The right data is essential to continue paving the way. Collecting and analysing data efficiently is critical to our mission of enhancing transparency in the global fashion industry. We’re constantly improving our platforms and tools to achieve this goal.

We strive to improve conformance together

To learn about MRSL conformance and wastewater testing, ZDHC sat down with Prasad Pant. He is the director of ZDHC’s Competence Centres, launched in 2023. Prasad is a textile chemist by qualification and has decades of experience in the textile and chemical industry. Formerly, Prasad was the South Asia Director for ZDHC. These Competence Centres will connect sustainable chemistry to the impact areas of water stewardship, air, fibres, materials, and provide technical competence to the Roadmap to Zero Programme.

Driving Change Forward

We connect the dots.

ZDHC supports its committed community to integrate ZDHC guidelines across global supply networks, urging suppliers and chemical manufacturers to embrace proactive measures. The greater the number of signatories embracing ZDHC, the closer we edge towards achieving zero discharge.

Better chemical formulations can be found on our ZDHC Gateway

This makes it easier for brands and manufacturers to avoid using restricted substances, leading to safer processes in fashion apparel and footwear products. The more often brands, manufacturers, and suppliers report their chemical inventories and engage with one another, both on the ZDHC Gateway and offline, the greater the positive impact.

There is no other organisation that’s doing what ZDHC is doing.

A significant goal for many brands is to have improved visibility into the chemistries used to make products. This visibility can be a significant challenge, even today.

Global Chemistry Director for  Sustainability at Nike based in Oregon, USA. Leverages more than 26 years in the chemistry field working with and inside Fortune 500 or larger companies to elevate the role and application of chemistry.

Mike Schaadt


Increased transparency into chemistries will accelerate progress

ZDHC welcomes regulations that exert greater pressure on companies to report and disclose their impact, such as chemical use. In the European Union, for example, recent regulations include the incoming Digital Product Passport (DPP) and the new Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD). The CSRD will require a double materiality assessment, evaluating a company's impact on society and the environment, and vice versa.

There may be some overlap between CSRD disclosures and ZDHC.

That should provide an opportunity for ZDHC to be used as the reference point for pollution standards in CSRD reporting standards. That would be a significant success in terms of alignment.

Group Director of ESG at Stahl, based in Barcelona, Spain. Focuses on climate change mitigation, environmental footprint, chemicals management, and diversity. Costello was elected to the ZDHC board of directors in 2021.

Michael Costello


Investors are also prioritising sustainability
for investments in manufacturing
and chemical management.

They’re choosing to invest in greener innovations and demanding transparency around the chemicals companies use. Consequently, companies will face mounting pressure to substantiate their commitment to sustainable practices to secure vital funding.

Spotlight on the Investor Community and Chemical Risk

It is critical to support the development of safer chemistry.

ZDHC spoke with Martin Mulvihill, the co-founder of Safer Made, a venture capital fund that supports early-stage innovation in safer chemistry. Mulvihill is a chemist by trade and helped create the Berkeley Centre for Green Chemistry in California. He stresses that sustainable change requires the whole ecosystem to work together.

Setting our sights and settling in:  The 2030 Impact Strategy

Protecting our ecosystems is more urgent than ever. If we want to eliminate harmful substances in the global fashion industry by 2030, there’s not a second to waste.

We have taken stock over the last few years and reflected on our strategic priorities. In 2022, we shifted from our five-year Growth Strategy (2017-2022) to our Impact Strategy, which will guide all ZDHC activities until 2030.

Our priorities have evolved to account for our growing reach:


ZDHC MRSL Sustainable Chemical Management (SCM) Framework Excellence


Adoption and Impact of the Roadmap to Zero (RtZ) Programme


Global Relevance and Recognition


Business Model Development and Enabling Infrastructure

These four priority resource areas stem from our foundation: the ZDHC MRSL and SCM Framework and its associated guidelines. The MRSL has become a shining example in our industry, and from this solid base, our implementation tools are harnessed to reach stakeholders across the value chain.

But our adoption and implementation tools are only effective when embraced.

We wanted to make sure chemistry didn’t get lost in the conversation.

Since the beginning, we’ve relied on the momentum of our signatories and synergies with like-minded organisations. These relationships drive our achievements and elevate our visibility with the community-at-large, including policymakers, governments, academia, and civil society, to advocate for sustainable chemistry based on our MRSL SCM Framework.

Not only that, but we’re weaving a new fourth category into the Roadmap to Zero quilt. In 2023, ZDHC welcomed textile machine manufacturers into the fold. This new signatory group will not only complement the other categories the Roadmap to Zero Programme has long fostered, but they also exemplify how models of engagement can impact sustainable chemical management and positively influence systemic change for all.

In the last year, we have made great strides along the roadmap to 2030.

We know there is great potential to share what we’ve learned over the last decade with other industries. Because of our 2030 Impact Strategy, we’ve already started to exchange with other manufacturing industries, such as the automotive and electronic sectors.

We’ve set the bar high. The Roadmap to Zero Programme has streamlined its approach towards programme delivery through a new Competence Centre that will provide technical expertise in four areas:

Sustainable Chemical Management
Water Stewardship
Fibres, Materials and Products

Collaborating to Expand

Textile Machine Manufacturers are the new fourth category in the Roadmap to Zero Programme

In 2023 at ITMA – Milan’s annual textile and garment technology exhibition – ZDHC welcomed textile machinery manufacturers as a new stakeholder group in the Roadmap to Zero (RtZ) Programme.

Together ZDHC looks forward to a holistic focus, which would address the interconnected concerns related to chemicals, water, and emissions. While collaboration is in its early stages, the seeds of this engagement will nurture and grow over the next few years, creating a unified approach towards safer and sustainable practices.

Currently in development, the Textile Machinery Manufacturers engagement journey will allow manufacturers to gather, share best practices, and connect through a new Manufacturers to Zero (MtZ) Programme. Manufacturers of textile machinery are a critical partner in moving the fashion industry to lower impact production methods. They not only are building the machinery, but some have created their own tools that could be informed by ZDHC’s chemicals information.

Sustainable Garment Technology

One such manufacturer committed to sustainability and using safer chemicals is Tonello, a garment finishing company based in northern Italy. ZDHC recently spent an afternoon at their headquarters to learn more about Tonello’s journey to reduce its environmental footprint, and its future aspirations.

Collaborating to Diversify

We are spearheading a movement that could benefit diverse industries worldwide.

The potential for cross-pollination excites us.

By embracing collaboration, there is a great opportunity to connect with other industries about how we got to the Roadmap to Zero Programme. Electronics, automotive, packaging, cosmetics—the sky is the limit.

We’re sharing what ZDHC has learned.

In the future, we hope to catalyse widespread adoption of sustainable chemical management practices across diverse industries through exchanging knowledge.

But exchange is a two-way street.

We could also gain valuable insights from other sectors, which would enhance our own approaches.

We’re easing into it.

While we would not directly implement an equivalent Roadmap to Zero Programme, we are open to liaising with other industries so they can carry out their own programmes in the future (e.g. by sharing the MRSL SCM Framework and potentially licensing implementation and adoption tools.)

So, what kinds of conversations are being had?

We're connecting with experts in the electronics and trucking industries to see how ZDHC could support a coordinated set of requirements in their respective fields.

To me, it's just very powerful when you start to connect across the industry sectors, especially along the value chain.

Jameson Morrell, Director of Sustainability at PACCAR.

Over the past several years, the Clean Electronics Production Network (CEPN) has worked alongside the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA) to explore the feasibility of an industry-wide Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (MRSL) in the electronics sector.

Recently ZDHC was invited by RBA to support the adoption of a model similar to the ZDHC SCM Framework for managing common supply chains across industries.

In the automotive sector, conversations between ZDHC and PACCAR - a company focused on the design and manufacturing of commercial trucks - have already begun.

Collaborating to Strengthen

Partnerships with like-minded organisations

We’ve already aligned the industry on a global framework for sustainable chemical management with the ZDHC Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (MRSL). But evolution takes teamwork.

The only way ZDHC can succeed is through collective action. Since the very beginning, we’ve depended on the power of collaboration with industry stakeholders, such as our like-minded partners across the value chain. By teaming up, we can tackle big problems together and accelerate the elimination of hazardous chemicals from our ecosystems. By doing so, we also boost biodiversity and support a circular economy. All of this is possible thanks to the partnerships catapulting us towards a greener future.

The apparel alliance

We connect with like-minded organisations to coordinate our work around sustainable chemical management. Since 2020, we’ve partnered with Cascale (formerly SAC), the Apparel Impact Institute (Aii), and Textile Exchange to link up tools and goals based on our core competencies and joint efforts.

45 %

Amount of organisations





This partnership of resources and offerings – geared toward the global textile value chain – is committed to achieving a minimum goal of 45% reduction of GHG emissions by 2030.

We all have our unique strengths, which positions us to focus on what we do best to speed up progress. There are huge challenges ahead of us, and they cannot be overcome alone in the run up to 2030.

Together, we drive innovation, embrace our differences, and leave duplication at the door.

We envision our collaboration leading to greater alignment across the industry, at scale. By doubling down on bringing our networks together, we can cross-pollinate knowledge and expertise between Textile Exchange members and the ZDHC community, as well as expand the reach of climate and nature initiatives by engaging more stakeholders like brands, manufacturers, suppliers, and NGOs.

Claire Bergkamp, CEO at Textile Exchange

Collaborating to Evolve

Together, we can continue to push the envelope

ZDHC’s reach stretches beyond the textile, leather, apparel, and footwear sectors. Leveraging its expertise in sustainable chemical management within these industries, ZDHC is poised to influence broader communities to amplify its impact.

Due to the lack of a global legislation, ZDHC stands out as the most recognised MRSL SCM Framework, offering a clear value proposition. This resonates with various stakeholders, including policymakers advocating for regulations, academia integrating it into curricula, and the financial community using it in funding and risk assessments.

Notable partnerships in 2023 include consultations with UNEP and SAICM on the Global Chemical Framework (GCF) for implementing chemical and waste management policies and strategies and defining 2030 targets.

We’re proud of the many milestones that emerged from our collaborations in 2023.

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

In September 2023, ZDHC participated in the 5th edition of the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM5), organised by UNEP and hosted by the German government in Bonn. This multi-stakeholder endeavour resulted in a precedent-setting achievement: the Global Framework on Chemicals (GFC). The milestone agreement includes a declaration, and 12 resolutions which will enhance global chemical and waste management. These outcomes support ZDHC’s vision of a world where better chemistry protects life, land, air, and water.

Harmful substances in textiles are a significant challenge, but also a significant opportunity.

The textile sector can provide a blueprint for the rest of the world on how to transform to circularity. Stakeholders such as ZDHC are crucial in bringing parties together, as well as raising ambitions for safe and circular practices.

Senior Management Programme Officer at the UN Environment Programme based in Geneva, Switzerland. Specialised in water management in industries and artisanal as well as small-scale gold mining.

Ludovic Bernaudat



ZDHC is currently supporting the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles (the Partnership’s Secretariate is implemented by GIZ) in further developing goals, including in PFC phase-out. The project “Initiative for Global Solidarity”, also implemented by GIZ, finances a collaborative project between Cascale, ZDHC and Apparel Impact Institute (Aii), which aims at developing a consolidated industry-wide environmental performance framework and data sharing model for the apparel and textile industry, thereby fostering industry alignment and reducing resources spend on various sustainability initiatives. This project is financed by the Initiative for Global Solidarity(IGS) which promotes human rights and environmental due diligence in global supply chains. The IGS works on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft for Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, specifically aims to align the industry with the Human Rights and Environmental Due Diligence (HREDD) requirements.

Working with supply chain adjustments is complex.

That is why strategic cooperation with important industry leaders will continue to be important in the future. We hope for continued open and targeted collaboration with ZDHC and other joint partners.

Head of Programme for Social and Ecological Transformation of Textile Supply Chains at GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH).

Noor Naqschbandi


French Development Agency (AFD)

The Agence Française de Développement (AFD) is a public development bank owned by the French state. It finances projects in developing and emerging countries by supportingthe UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and contributing to climate adaptation and mitigation.  

Collaboration began a few years ago, when ZDHC and AFD conducted pre-feasibility studies in various Asian countries to assess market size, pollution levels, and potential for designing a specific credit line in favour of Sustainable Chemical Management through ZDHC’s Roadmap to Zero Programme. A recent grant was approved* to launch a pilot project in Bangladesh. The project aims to extend the ZDHC approach to about 100 facilities in the country, offering capacity building and technical assistance to SMEs to meet environmental standards and comply with the RtZ.  

A scientific impact evaluation of the pilot project will also be conducted to assess its impact in terms of biodiversity protection. Additionally, a feasibility study is being undertaken for an AFD-financed credit line through the Bangladesh Bank for sustainable chemical management through ZDHC’s RtZ. This partnership has the potential to scale up ZDHC’s guidelines and solutions to reduce water pollution in the global fashion industry.

The two organisations have very different mindsets and missions, but together we can find a common space for action.

There's good potential for collaboration to connect development and environmental public policies with ZDHC’s approach driven and originated by private sector actors.

Task Team Leader at the Agence Francaise de Développement based in Paris. Holds a special interest in water and sanitation infrastructure financing and the monitoring and analysis of water and energy issues.

Olivier Crespi Reghizzi


The Microfibres Consortium

ZDHC and The Microfibre Consortium (TMC) have joined forces to release guidance that sets out to help tackle microfibre loss in the textile industry. So far, they have issued two snapshot guidance documents, one aimed at brands and retailers and the other at suppliers, on actions that can be taken to tackle microfibre loss from wet processing facilities. The documents developed together support supply chains, brands, and retailers in taking adequate measures against microfibre pollution. The two partners held a joint roundtable with TMC on fibre fragments in wastewater at the ITMA in 2023 on a joint case to add fibre fragmentation requirements for TMC in the ZDHC Wastewater Guidelines and ensure that there remains one place for wastewater reporting.

Ultimately the goal of ZDHC is the removal of harmful pollutants from entering the environment.

To do that, the industry as a whole needs to work together. Through the partnerships that ZDHC has developed and its successful collaborations, such as that with The Microfibre Consortium, it will continue to impact the industry in a positive way by raising awareness and standards and ultimately hold the industry to account in its reduction of harmful pollutants.

CEO of the Microfibre Consortium and Assistant Professor at Northumbria University based in the UK. Focused on leading the textile industry in reducing microfibre release to protect the environment.

Dr Kelly Sheridan

CEO at The Microfibre Consortium

The Leather Working Group

ZDHC and the Leather Working Group (LWG) have joined forces to simplify sustainable chemical management for leather manufacturers. Their collaboration aligns the LWG audit standard with ZDHC’s requirements, focusing on the MRSL and air emissions. By integrating these standards, the collaboration aims to make it easier for leather manufacturers to comply with responsible chemical management practices, reducing the burden of complying with multiple standards.

Sustainable chemical management is an important element of the LWG assessment of leather manufacturers.

Alignment between the RtZ programme and LWG’s efforts ensures a unified approach to environmental sustainability. By aligning on messaging and asks to key manufacturing stakeholder groups, we can present a cohesive strategy that avoids the mixed or confusing messages that can sometimes arise when multiple standards and guidelines are in play.

Director of Sustainability at Leather Working Group. Global leader in driving innovation for sustainable production, transparency, and supply chain due diligence.

Christina Trautmann

Director of Sustainability at Leather Working Group

Gender & Chemicals Partnership

At Impact Day 2022, ZDHC hosted a panel discussion addressing gender issues in the textile industry, given the industry’s predominantly female workforce. This sparked a deeper reflection on ZDHC’s role in addressing gender challenges within the sector. Collaborative projects with IDH, GIZ, and UNIDO increasingly highlighted the importance of gender considerations, leading to a direct link between gender and chemistry in one project. In September 2023, ZDHC officially joined the interim board of the gender and chemicals partnership. During the partnership’s launch at ICCM5 in Bonn, the interim board introduced themselves and outlined their collaborative vision.

The partnership makes our Programme more complete because we tend to look at the industry as, ‘There’s the value chain, period.’

But there are different processes in that value chain, and there are different people working in that value chain. For me, it makes it complete to include that social aspect in our work. How can we use our knowledge and our systems to support health and safety in chemical management in relation to gender?

Academy Director at the ZDHC Foundation based in Amsterdam. Leads the ZDHC Academy, driving capacity building, education, and ZDHC implementations across the Benelux and Africa.

Mariella Noto

ZDHC Academy Director

Collaborating to Learn

We offer opportunities to create awareness and develop skills on sustainable chemical management

The ZDHC Academy is a globally established training centre and platform specialising in capacity building and hands-on education for sustainable chemical management. It is the textile industry’s flagship program for developing skills in sustainable chemical management and ZDHC’s guidelines, platforms, and solutions.

It’s also another way to align our approach. All in-person and online courses are provided by ZDHC Approved Trainers, carefully selected by the ZDHC Academy team.  

The future of sustainability in the industry hinges on our capacity to empower all relevant stakeholders in the value chain. We are catalysing transformative change through in-person, online courses, self-paced e-learning, and ZDHC introduction and implementation webinars.

The Academy started as a scheme to approve trainers that could give aligned training across the industry, on one training topic only. That’s how it started in a nutshell. Then we started to build it out, step by step. Seven years later, we have over 13 training topics and 200+ trainers.

Mariella Noto, ZDHC Academy Director

In 2023, in-demand courses were delivered, and creative new formats of instruction were explored:

11418 Learners

At the end of the year, ZDHC had 11.418 learners since its launch in 2016 completing training sessions. 

2946 Certificates

In 2023, the ZDHC Academy issued 2946 certificates.

18 Countries

The ZDHC Academy offers online, in-person, hybrid, and self-paced e-learning training provided by ZDHC-approved training Providers in 18 countries.

206 Approved Trainers

At the end of December, ZDHC had 32 Approved Training Providers and 206 Approved Trainers; 159 training sessions were hosted and offered in 11 different languages.

Top Courses

The most sought-after courses in 2023 were the Chemical Management System Technical Industry Guide (CMS TIG), Intro to ZDHC E-learning, and Wastewater and Sludge Sample Collection Training. 

New collaboration

GIZ and ZDHC started a collaboration in mid-2023, training over 20 ZDHC Approved Trainers to become Climate Action Trainers (CAT) trainers, partnered alongside the Fashion Charter for Climate Action and 12 brands and manufacturers. The training is now available through the ZDHC trainer network and the ZDHC Academy. 

Among the many highlights from 2023, one capacity-building project rises to the top.  Together with ZDHC, the United Nations International Development Organisation (UNIDO) undertook six pilot projects in Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia to demonstrate the way forward for phasing out harmful substances in the textile industry’s value chain. This project is part of the regional EU-funded SwitchMed programme that supports industries in the Southern Mediterranean in improving their environmental performance and competitive advantage.  

Without having all these dedicated, local trainers who train facilities in local languages every week, we would not be anywhere. I think they [in 2023] did an immense job of bringing the academy to the next level.

Mariella Noto, ZDHC Academy Director

The project was divided into phases:  

  • The first phase started in 2020 and focused on training and capacity building. The second phase involved implementing a sustainable chemical management system at six identified facilities.  
  • The project was a success, and in 2023, the scale-up phase, in which 15 additional facilities participated, was kicked off.  
  • In the third phase, the ZDHC Approved Solution Provider Leadership & Sustainability conducted training, followed by performing a gap analysis of each facility's current sustainable chemical management performance to define a roadmap for improvement.  
  • The project aimed to reach Supplier to Zero Level 1 by the end of 2023, and most facilities (or greater than 85% of the facilities) successfully achieved this. 

One example of the work was at EVLOX, a denim producer in Morocco. There, its chemical inventory list wasn’t aligned with the ZDHC Guidelines. Training was offered based on the ZDHC Chemical Management System Technical Industry Guidelines (ZDHC CMS TIG), which significantly revamped EVLOX’s chemical management system. 

We’re sharing what ZDHC has learned

In the future, we hope to catalyse widespread adoption of sustainable chemical management practices across diverse industries through exchanging knowledge.

Collaborating to Focus

From Grassroots to Global

We’ve already aligned the industry on a global framework for sustainable chemical management with the ZDHC Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (MRSL). But evolution takes teamwork.

Regions play a pivotal role in driving ZDHC’s mission forward. Sustainable chemical management demands keen attention to the nuances of regional markets. Diverse government policies and regulations on chemical management across regions require tailored implementation strategies. In regions with established policies, like Europe, consensus among supply chain stakeholders has helped contribute to the adoption of sustainable practices.

Yet, in regions lacking such regulations, local brands may have less awareness, posing a challenge. However, as these regions often serve as major production hubs for European brands, we leverage their influence to encourage ZDHC guideline adoption among manufacturers. Gradually, we are raising industry awareness and establishing ZDHC standards as industry norms.

However, this process is often long-term. Therefore, to effectively tackle global sustainable chemical management issues, we must deeply understand each region's dynamics and devise tailored strategies accordingly.

The work of the Regions is critically important and requires ongoing effort.

Regional milestones from 2023:

  • Strong Momentum in RtZ Programme Implementation: Enrolments for formulators in the Gateway are up by 19.6%, and suppliers are up by 22.2% compared to 2022.
  • 13 new ZDHC signatories were onboarded. Another Chinese brand joined ZDHC.
  • 22 ZDHC InConnect events connected with 17 brands and drew over 3,500 participants.
  • Co-hosted 51 ZDHC Solutions Roadshows with 42 ZDHC-approved solution providers, spanning 11 languages and involving 4,200+ participants.
  • Organising country-specific events, in-person meetings, speeches, and online webinars to accelerate RtZ implementation and engage regional stakeholders.
  • Regional Conference in South Asia, Southern Europe and East Asia Region.

Future Outlook

Elevating our efforts in 2024 and beyond

Highlights at a Glance

The kind of collaboration it takes to create a toxic-free global fashion industry

This past year, we’ve deepened our dedication to sustainability, leveraging strong partnerships, cutting-edge technology, and extensive training and education. Our major milestones from 2023 highlight our commitment and the progress we’ve made towards a more sustainable future.

It Takes Partnerships and Community Expansion

As of December 2023 ZDHC’s Committed Community grew to over 300 organisations including:

  • 18 Associates
  • 41 Brands
  • 58 Chemical Formulator
  • 46 Suppliers
  • 43 Friends of ZDHC
  • 159 Approved Solution Providers
ZDHC Signatories +14%
Formulators registered in Gateway +21%
Knowledge Base Accessed +64%

It Takes Supplier Performance and Engagement

  • 65% of newly joint suppliers met the ZDHC MRSL parameters as of October 2023.
  • Trend Analysis: Showcased improvements over 3-year and 5-year trends, with over 80% meeting MRSL and conventional parameters when publishing wastewater reports in the recent cycle.
Published Performance InCheck (ClearStream Reports) +31%
Suppliers registered on the ZDHC Gateway + 21%
Supplier Accounts on the Supplier Platform + 56%

It Takes Technology and Innovation

  • Product Expansion: The ZDHC Gateway hosted 102,406 published products by February 2024.
  • Trend Analysis: Showcased improvements over 3-year and 5-year trends, with over 80% meeting MRSL and conventional parameters when publishing wastewater reports in the recent cycle.
Our Future Outlook and Goals

2030 Vision: We are aiming for 100% MRSL compliance for signatory suppliers, and 70% ZDHC MRSL compliance in the industry, reflecting our commitment to eliminating harmful substances used in production in the supply chain by 2030.

2023 was a transformative year for ZDHC as we advanced towards our goal of a zero-discharge future. Our efforts across various fronts — from supplier compliance to technological advancements — reaffirm our pivotal role in driving the fashion industry towards sustainable practices. We look forward to continuing this journey with our partners and stakeholders.

Looking Ahead

This year’s Impact Report outlined our programs and key stories that captured the successes and challenges - as well as the partners and people - involved with our work in 2023.

2023 was a banner year for ZDHC

One of our key accomplishments was the expansion of our membership base, with a growing number of brands, manufacturers, chemical suppliers, and other stakeholders joining the movement. At the heart of what we do lies a deep dedication to sustaining these reciprocal relationships. This increased participation reflects a recognition of the importance of sustainable chemical management and demonstrates the industry’s commitment to contributing to a healthier planet.

ZDHC continued to enhance its tools, resources, and guidelines to support its members in establishing best practices. From updated versions of the Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (MRSL) to improved wastewater guidelines, ZDHC provided essential resources to support the shift to safer alternatives.

But major challenges remain.

We know we must deepen our focus on reaching key stakeholders, such as our suppliers, so the RtZ Programme can accelerate to reach our 2030 goal. We cannot do this alone: as we work towards our common goal, we need all hands on deck. Achieving this objective necessitates a system-wide effort, including brands, suppliers, civil society organisations, and governments on a global scale. This will be increasingly important as we deepen our ‘end-to-end’ focus – working from the farm level (e.g. cotton production) to end of life.

We need the proper level of transparency to do what’s required. It all comes back to knowing what chemicals are in products and formulations at a substance level. ZDHC will continue to tackle this challenge in the next decade and play a leading role in navigating the value chain towards wider accountability. In the coming years, we hope ZDHC will be the system of record for our Signatories regarding new regulations, such as in due diligence, reporting on environmental and social impact activities, or other legislation requiring brands to produce a list of chemicals they use to make products.

ZDHC is unwavering in its commitment to creating a more transparent and accountable value chain.

Improving chemical sustainability in the textile industry while tackling overlapping environmental crises isn’t easy. That’s why we rely on radical collaboration as a powerful tool for implementing widespread sustainable chemistry. It’s about aligning our efforts, which are urgently needed in the global value chain. As we continue integrating the needs and learnings from our community, we are committed to growing and nurturing the change we seek.

ZDHC’s Board Members understand this well. They embody a unique kind of collective action, bringing diverse voices to the table, all with a shared vision in mind. In 2023, the Board grew bolder, stronger, and more determined than ever.

We’re working tirelessly to wipe hazardous chemicals from our ecosytems. We’re partnering with like-minded people  who want to pave the way with us.

Sustainable chemical management requires all of our expertise. All of our passion. Everything we’ve got.

Join us

If our message resonates, and if you share our goals

We can accomplish so much more together. Let’s make the zero discharge of hazardous chemicals in the global fashion industry tomorrow’s reality.

Start Your Journey

Join the Roadmap to Zero Programme to commit to a sustainable future for fashion

Step 3/3


Brands and Retailers > ZDHC guidelines, platforms and trainings

The freely available ZDHC Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (ZDHC MRSL) is a single list of chemical substances banned from intentional use during manufacturing processes. To support the implementation of this list we provide the industry with a set of supporting guidelines, a ZDHC Chemical Management System and the ZDHC Wastewater Guidelines to ensure a holistic input, process and output management.

Step 3/3


Brands and Retailers > Access to the ZDHC Gateway

The ZDHC Gateway is available for the ZDHC Community and their supply chain.

Become a Friend
Be part of the ZDHC Community, not as a Contributor, but a Friend. You will get benefits like access to the Gateway and more. 


Step 3/3


Brands and Retailers > Become a Friend

Friends of ZDHC are organisations who align with ZDHC’s mission, vision and purpose. They can also access ZDHC Solutions and Platforms, which helps them to fast-track their own sustainability programmes.

Friends of ZDHC - General Eligibility Requirements

To apply to becoming a Friend of ZDHC, please confirm that your company confirms to the following requirements:

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Step 3/3


Brands and Retailers > Become a ZDHC Signatory Brand

ZDHC works with and receives support from different stakeholders in the industry. They are divided into five categories, as defined below: Textile/Apparel/Leather/Footwear Industry, Chemical Industry, Signatory Brands, Solution Providers, and Associates. All categories must meet some general requirements in order to become a ZDHC Contributor. Some specific categories must also meet additional requirements.

Requirements for all categories

To apply to becoming a ZDHC Contributor, please confirm that your company confirms to the following requirements:

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Step 3/3


Chemical Formulators > ZDHC Gateway

Expand details

With the ZDHC Gateway Chemical formulators can prove ZDHC MRSL conformance for their products which helps to position as a leader in reducing hazardous chemical use. ZDHC InCheck is an easy-to-read chemical inventory report. It provides an overall score of ZDHC MRSL conformance for all products in the inventory and shows where improvements can be made.

Request Gateway access

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Step 3/3


Chemical Formulators > Become a ZDHC Signatory Chemical Formulator

Expand details

ZDHC works with and receives support from different stakeholders in the industry. They are divided into five categories, as defined below: Textile/Apparel/Leather/Footwear Industry, Chemical Industry, Signatory Brands, Solution Providers, and Associates.
All categories must meet some general requirements in order to become a ZDHC Signatory. Some specific categories must also meet additional requirements.

Requirements for all categories

To apply to becoming a ZDHC Signatory, please confirm that your company confirms to the following requirements:

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Step 2/3



ZDHC provides guidance and tools for manufacturing facilities on how to meet ZDHC Signatory Brand requirements and provides the Textile, Apparel, Leather or Footwear Industry with a central library of chemical formulations that conform to the ZDHC MRSL.

The Roadmap to Zero Programme
Find out more about the ZDHC Roadmap to Zero Programme and its Focus Areas. Looking for guidelines like the ZDHC MRSL or the ZDHC Wastewater Guidelines? This is the place to look.


InCheck Report
ZDHC InCheck is an easy-to-read chemical inventory report. InCheck helps suppliers to assess and improve their chemical inventory. Comprehensive overviews of their chemical inventory are provided, alongside its overall conformance to the ZDHC MRSL. Suppliers can actively track and improve their performance. They can distinguish their organisation from others and build customer loyalty by showing brands their proactive efforts.


ClearStream Report
ClearStream is a visual, easy-to-read report of a supplier's wastewater performance, as tested against the ZDHC Wastewater Guidelines. A ClearStream report supports suppliers to easily understand their wastewater performance towards the ZDHC Wastewater Guidelines. Suppliers also get guidance on opportunities to improve, so they can target their actions and resources.


Use our free material
For suppliers and manufacturers, ZDHC offers guidelines, solutions and platforms for free.


Supplier to Zero
Supplier to Zero empowers supply chain partners. As a brand or a leading manufacturer you can invite your suppliers at all levels. Supplier to Zero will bring them up to speed on implementation of the industry’s leading chemical management system.


Participate in the Programme
Do you not only want to use our guidelines, platforms and solutions but also be part of the creation? Find out more here!


Step 3/3

Suppliers > Learn more about the ZDHC Programme

The ZDHC Roadmap to Zero Programme guides value chains towards a sustainable use of safer chemistry.Safer chemical inputs make a big difference, as long as they are used the right way and when good procedures and best practice are in place, outputs become cleaner, and process works. Measuring indicators such as, wastewater, sludge and air quality validates the work that is being done with chemical inputs and processes. It helps to determine if the output water and air is safer. Our solutions help the industry to transform their value chains.

Step 4/4


Suppliers -  Become a ZDHC Signatory Supplier

ZDHC works with and receives support from different stakeholders in the industry. They are divided into five categories, as defined below: Textile/Apparel/Leather/Footwear Industry, Chemical Industry, Signatory Brands, Solution Providers, and Associates. All categories must meet some general requirements in order to become a ZDHC Signatory. Some specific categories must also meet additional requirements.

Requirements for all categories

To apply to becoming a ZDHC Signatory, please confirm that your company confirms to the following requirements:

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Step 2/3


Solution Provider

Our Approved Solution Providers are linked to the ZDHC data infrastructure via an API and seamlessly connect to the unique ZDHC platforms. As a solution provider you gain access to ZDHC Gateway infrastructure, an exclusive implementation expert network and access to the brand customer base.

Step 3/4


Solution Provider - Be an Implementation Partner

To maximise impact, we scale our efforts with Implementation Partners who have the know-how - based on years of expertise and ZDHC knowledge - to fast-track chemical management programmes.
As an Implementation Partner of ZDHC you can seamlessly integrate your services with ZDHC's implementation tools and guidance. By this you can accelerate your business and gain new customers.

Step 4/4


Solution Provider - Become an Implementation Partner

Scale up your expertise and solutions by being an Implementation Partner and seamlessly integrate your services with ZDHC's implementation tools and guidance. 

Step 3/3


Become a ZDHC Signatory Approved Solution Provider

Certified standards can indicate a chemical product's conformance to the ZDHC MRSL. Acceptance is awarded at four different levels. Boost the impact of your certified standard. Apply, then follow the steps to earn ZDHC Accepted status.
ZDHC MRSL Conformance Indicatorsreceive exclusive access to the ZDHC Gateway Chemical Module and gain the ability to certify against the ZDHC MRSL.

Step 3/3


Become a ZDHC Signatory Approved Solution Provider

ZDHC Accepted Wastewater Laboratories deliver and verify wastewater and sludge testing data. Make your lab part of this global effort to drive transparency in the industry.
ZDHC Wastewater Testing Laboratories receive exclusive access to the ZDHC Gateway: Wastewater Module to upload any test against the ZDHC Wastewater Guidelines.

Step 3/3


Solution Provider - Become a ZDHC Contributor

Currently not possible as this category is on hold.

Step 2/3


Want to participate in the ZDHC Programme and help to develop guidelines, solutions and platforms.

Step 3/3

Associate - Become a Contributor

ZDHC works with and receives support from different stakeholders in the industry. They are divided into five categories, as defined below: Textile/Apparel/Leather/Footwear Industry, Chemical Industry, Signatory Brands, Solution Providers, and Associates. All categories must meet some general requirements in order to become a ZDHC Contributor. Some specific categories must also meet additional requirements.

Requirements for all categories

To apply to becoming a ZDHC Contributor, please confirm that your company confirms to the following requirements:

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.