The Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) Programme announces the development and testing of a comprehensive environmental Audit Protocol Tool, meeting another critical milestone outlined in the Joint Roadmap, Version 2.
This audit protocol tool will be used to ensure continuous strong environmental performance and improvement throughout the supply chain. To ensure industry usefulness and transparency of the audit protocol tool, the ZDHC Assessments and Audits team worked collaboratively with Sustainable Textile Services, Hohenstein Institute and OEKO-TEX® to create version 1.0 of the audit protocol tool.
Based on this version 1.0, an audit protocol study was developed and pilot tested at 25 wet-processing facilities in 23 dye house and finishing facilities and 2 washing facilities in Bangladesh, China, El Salvador, India, Turkey, South Korea and the United States. Key findings from the study are summarised in the Audit Protocol Report released today.
Feedback from auditors, facilities audited and key stakeholders Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), Leather Working Group (LWG) and the Global Social Compliance Programme (GSCP) is currently being incorporated into version 2.0 of the audit protocol tool.
“The completion of ZDHC's Audit Protocol 1.0 marks a milestone in the reflection of best practice in audit process and methodology tailored to the apparel sector. The GSCP welcomes initiatives such as ZDHC working for the harmonisation and alignment of environmental audit criteria, helping supply chains meet higher standards on key issues such as sustainable chemical management,” said Didier Bergeret, Head of the Global Social Compliance Programme.
Lessons learned in the audit protocol study will be incorporated into the group’s audit protocol tool, version 2.0. The goal for the version 2.0 is for multiple stakeholders to adopt the protocol as the apparel and footwear industry standard generic environmental audit and/or self-assessment tool. The group envisions that this tool will serve as a basis both for audits and as a standalone self-assessment tool to aid facilities of any size in self-education and calibration to industry norms.
“It is the ZDHC Group’s vision that version 2.0 will be endorsed and included in the suite of tools currently in use by SAC, OIA, GSCP, LWG, Better Work, Fair Labor Association and move, towards scaled adoption and a new approach in the apparel and footwear industry for chemical and environmental management,” said Cheryl Kreindler, ZDHC Programme Manager.
To assist suppliers in understanding the ZDHC audit requirements, training on the audit protocol tool will be incorporated into the ZDHC supplier training programme and will be available in face-to-face and online formats. The training will be usable for facilities of all sizes.