Sampling & Analysis Plan

Continuous improvement of sampling and testing data

In the spirit of continuous improvement, the ZDHC Wastewater and Sludge Laboratory Sampling and Analysis Plan (SAP) will be reviewed on a regular basis and revised as needed to incorporate learnings and opportunities identified during the practical application and implementation of these procedures. 

All ZDHC Accepted Laboratories must refer to both the ZDHC Wastewater Guidelines and the SAP when conducting sampling and testing/analysis, as both documents complement one another.

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An important element of the value chain

Fibres are an important part of the value chain. Therefore it’s a logical next step for ZDHC Roadmap to Zero Programme to include fibre production processes and their raw materials. In 2018, the scope of the Programme extended to include the production of Man-Made Cellulosic Fibres (MMCF). This is the first fibre production area included in the Programme. More materials will be added in the future.

Global viscose production is growing fast, which is why the initial focus is on Man-Made Cellulosic Fibres (MMCF; including viscose, modal and lyocell). MMCFs are produced from natural feedstock like wood or plants, using hazardous chemicals. Within the production process of viscose and modal, particularly where that’s not an integrated (closed loop) process, chemicals react with the cellulose. This creates by-products, which can be released into the air, water and soil, so we’ve been working to tackle the issue.

An 2018 industry expert report commissioned by ZDHC concluded that restricting chemicals via the ZDHC MRSL approach would not work. The restrictions would halt most MMCF production processes. We would achieve most impact by collaboratively setting guidance around good chemical management and limits for wastewater, sludge, and air emissions during fibre production. At the same time ZDHC can continue researching MMCF production processes using less hazardous chemicals.

In March 2018, ZDHC hosted the first multi-stakeholder MMCF roundtable with representatives from approximately 80% of the global MMCF production. Several ZDHC Signatory Brands attended, including C&A, Coop Switzerland, Esprit, Inditex, H&M, M&S, Primark, PVH Corp and F&F, as well as Value Chain Affiliates Lenzing Group, BIRLA CELLULOSE, Sateri, Canopy, Textile Exchange, Bluesign and the China Chemical Fibers Association (CCFA), the Collaboration for Sustainable Development of Viscose (CV) and the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles. 

The roundtable agreed that ZDHC should lead a collaboration to develop a framework of guidelines for wastewater, sludge, waste and air emissions specific to MMCF production, and expectations for process by-product recovery rates. The guidelines will, for now, focus on MMCF production. Dissolving pulp production processes will be considered at a later stage.

Supporting data integrity on the ZDHC Gateway

These guidelines highlight the expectations, criteria and specification of data uploaded electronically onto the ZDHC Gateway. 

Data integrity on ZDHC Gateway - Wastewater Module is a cornerstone of the ZDHC Roadmap to Zero Programme. One of the mechanisms used to achieve that is the implementation of the EDR. In fact, ZDHC Accepted Laboratories are expected to adhere to these guidelines.

As part of our continuous improvement efforts, we are moving away from manual data entry to electronic data submission. This guideline explains the automated system Accepted Laboratories must use to submit wastewater and sludge testing data on the ZDHC Gateway - Wastewater Module. It also helps them do so in a resource effective way. 

The system is backed by a data validation mechanism, which ensures data uploaded onto the Gateway is consistent and conforms to the data rules and quality requirements.

The ZDHC Gateway Electronic Data Reporting System is currently being developed and will be rolled out in 2020 (exact time to be determined).


Better Outputs

Safer and cleaner - for producers, people and planet

Measuring indicators such as, wastewater, sludge and air quality validates the work that is being done with chemical inputs and processes. It helps us to determine if
the output water and air is safer.


Wastewater Guidelines

Version 1.1

These Guidelines standardise wastewater testing requirements in the global apparel, textile and footwear supply chain. They define the standard for wastewater discharge and sludge quality. The input of key stakeholders was used in their creation, adding to their credibility. Leading brands, suppliers, academia, laboratories and tech companies were all part of this industry breakthrough.

supportive Document

Sampling and Analysis Plan  

(SAP) Version 1.2

This document is a key support for implementing the ZDHC Wastewater Guidelines. It provides ZDHC Accepted Laboratories with a set of requirements. Those requirements guide labs as they sample and test to determine the concentration of parameters in wastewater and sludge. We want to achieve the integrity and comparability of wastewater and sludge test data. The implementation of the SAP helps us to do that.

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supportive Document

Electronic Data Reporting System

(EDR)  Version 2.0

The EDR gives directives to ZDHC Accepted Laboratories on submitting test data to the ZDHC Gateway - Wastewater Module. It explains the standardised way in which data should be submitted to the Gateway platform. By showing these laboratories what data we expect them to upload, it increases the consistency and comparability of test data on the platform.

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Accepted Laboratories

Laboratories must meet ZDHC’s minimum acceptance criteria. This is crucial to sample and analyse based on the ZDHC Wastewater Guidelines, and to submit test data to the ZDHC Gateway - Wastewater Module. For consistent data quality, insight is needed on the personnel, equipment and processes being used. With that in mind, the ZDHC Laboratory Acceptance Programme was created.

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Already more than 87 laboratories in 23 locations

Wastewater Treatment Technologies

This document, which is purely informational, was gifted to ZDHC in 2018. It provides helpful knowledge for decision-makers and managers at wet processing facilities. The document's main purpose is to provide a technical overview of wastewater treatment processes. Wastewater treatment is a complex process and treatment solutions may vary from plant-to-plant. Therefore additional (bespoke) guidance, and resources such as regional training programs are needed. 


Man-Made Cellulosic Fibres

This document standardises wastewater, air emissions and chemical recovery requirements for MMCF manufacturing facilities. Define a standard approach for MMCF fibre manufacturing emissions control. The creation of this document is a collaborative effort from the industry: MMCF manufacturing facilities, brands, service providers and subject matter experts.

supportive document


ZDHC MMCF Guidelines

This support document underlines the steps and actions necessary to implement the ZDHC MMCF Guidelines and support the involved stakeholders during the implementation.


Public Disclosure Portal

This portal provides a global picture of performance with regard to the ZDHC Wastewater Guidelines. In this international supply chain overview, a map highlights where manufacturing facilities meet the requirements of the Wastewater Guidelines. Where requirements are not met, it shows if corrective action has been put in place.


Wastewater Module

Test wastewater once - share results simultaneously

The ZDHC Gateway - Wastewater Module saves time and supports transparency throughout the value chain. Manufacturing facilities can test wastewater once and share the results simultaneously with all clients. Suppliers are assessed against uniform standards like the ZDHC Wastewater Guidelines or the ZDHC MMCF Wastewater Guidelines. They can show their performance and take corrective action if needed.

Brands also benefit. They can see test results from multiple suppliers - on one single platform. There are exciting future possibilities too, like the potential to link to other business analytics platforms for fuller performance analyses.