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Update on ZDHC Solutions and ZDHC Approved Solution Providers

January 17, 2023

The growing demand for sustainable chemical management re-shapes the landscape for respective solutions

It is said that true colours come to the foreground in difficult times. Despite the economic pressures faced by the textile and footwear industry, the ZDHC Foundation’s Roadmap to Zero Programme has seen a growing demand for its sustainable chemical management solutions as provided by ZDHC Approved Solution Providers. The growth of our programme is proof of its relevance to the challenges of our time: fighting environmental pollution, driving system innovation, combating climate change and facing economic pressure.

The Roadmap to Zero Programme, its guidelines and solutions continue to evolve based on feedback from our community of more than 60 Brands and 8000 Suppliers who use them every day. As a result of last year’s updates to the  ZDHC MRSL and the ZDHC Wastewater Guidelines, the ZDHC Approved Solution Providers are currently undergoing a re-approval process to ensure that their services meet the standards of ZDHC. The latest list of ZDHC Approved Solution Providers has been categorised and made available on the Implementation HUB website, where it will be updated regularly.

The latest addition to the ZDHC Approved Solution Provider categories are the ZDHC Approved InCheck Verifiers. While the ZDHC Performance InCheck offers Suppliers a self-assessed crosscheck of their chemical inventory on the ZDHC Gateway database of assessed chemicals that meet the requirements of ZDHC MRSL Conformance, the ZDHC Verified InCheck (Level 1) provides a verification of the self-reported data itself. This adds another level of confidence for Brands and Suppliers who are actively implementing the ZDHC MRSL across their global value chains. The ZDHC Verified InCheck is not necessarily a stand-alone verification as it may be integrated in other assessment scheme’s protocols, thereby providing added value and reducing potential audit fatigue. 

“Solution Providers that are also auditors or verifiers in other schemes have asked about the integration of the ZDHC Verified InCheck with those schemes. While they may offer it as an add-on if they are approved by ZDHC, we prefer the official and coordinated integration with the scheme owning organisation. We appreciate the constructive discussions with our collaboration partners, and we are looking forward to seeing its integration in the Clean by Design Program, STeP by Oekotex and 4s Chem Protocol by Process Factory.”
-Klaas Nuttbohm, ZDHC Implementation Director.

So far, Process Factory has taken the integration of the Roadmap to Zero Programme in its 4S-Chem protocol the furthest. The protocol ensures that Suppliers who sign-up to 4S-Chem will undergo ZDHC ClearStream wastewater testing, the ZDHC Performance InCheck and the ZDHC Verified InCheck (Level 1). It is the first system that is fully aligned with the ZDHC Supplier to Zero Programme, which is why Suppliers completing 4S-Chem at the Silver level will also be recognised with a Supplier to Zero Progressive Level certificate.

“We are really proud of our total alignment with the Supplier to Zero Programme. Thanks to over 8 years of working with the ZDHC Foundation, initially as a ZDHC Contributor but now as a ZDHC Approved Training Provider working with Brands and Suppliers on training and implementation of the Roadmap to Zero Programme, we can confidently say that we are totally aligned and work together toward the same targets. More than 250 Suppliers are implementing the 4s Chem Protocol with us. The 4s Chem Protocol has also integrated the ZDHC Performance InCheck reports through the ZDHC Approved Performance InCheck Provider Ympact Platform to complete the alignment and provide brands and suppliers with 4s Chem as a one-stop-solution. It is a great satisfaction to see how partnership can support sustainability goals!”

-Francesca Rulli, Founder of Process Factory. 

ZDHC Approved Solution Providers play an important role in imparting knowledge around the world  and promoting implementation of the Roadmap to Zero Programme on the ground at the Supplier facility level. To support the growth of the ZDHC Academy a new training platform will be launched in 2023, along with updated ZDHC Wastewater Management training, CMS Framework training and a new Denim training which will be offered by our Approved Training Providers. 

The ZDHC Academy has also expanded its courses in 2022 to launch “Introduction to ZDHC” e-learnings, which proved beneficial to more than 1000 learners from Supplier and Brand organisations. For those who would like to familiarise themselves with the work of ZDHC and its Roadmap to Zero Programme, the Introduction to ZDHC e-learning will now be available in 6 different languages in 2023.

2023 will also mark a change to the role of solution and service providers within the Roadmap to Zero Programme. The ZDHC Contributor category of ‘Solution Providers’ will be transitioned into a new engagement model in partnership with the Implementation HUB, based on the solutions and services provided by them. The role of ‘ZDHC Contributor’ will be reserved for Suppliers, Brands and Chemical Formulators, whose implementation of the Roadmap to Zero Programme will be supported by ZDHC Approved Solution Providers and reflected through their participation in our ZDHC Leaders to Zero programmes, such as Supplier to Zero and Brands to Zero. Furthermore, solution and service providers will remain involved in their relevant committees, task teams and advisory groups, such as the “Lab Advisory Group,” where they will continue to provide valuable expertise and input toward the development, roll-out and implementation of the Roadmap to Zero Programme.