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SPONSORED CONTENT – In the complex and ever-evolving textile, leather and fashion world, staying up to date of regulatory changes and technological advancements is paramount. One challenge lies in combatting misleading communication and empowering consumers to make informed and traceable decisions.

We have reached a point where misleading environmental and social claims are being confronted with legislative measures such as the European Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) and the upcoming Green Claims Directive. Since legal developments remain dynamic, international textile and leather companies find it difficult to keep track of applicable laws. How do labels and certifications ensure their processes and quality remain abreast of current legal developments?

“Being an enabler for positive change requires a sensitive mix of cooperation and understanding for all parties involved as well as an independent control mechanism that offers full transparency,” says Elisa Rimmele, head of quality management at OEKO-TEX®. “We see our organization, with its 17 independent research and test institutes in Europe and Japan, as an intermediary between the industry and the complex challenges it is facing. Regular exchanges, knowledge-sharing, and global collaboration are integral components of our strategy.”

When emerging topics come up, OEKO-TEX® swiftly collaborates with their international working groups and, when needed, external experts to ensure comprehensive compliance. New parameters are implemented ahead of regulatory changes and their effects are carefully monitored. This proactive approach has proven highly effective, as evidenced by OEKO-TEX®’s annual updates, which ensure alignment with the multifaceted legal landscape that the industry navigates.

The international association is committed to the integrity and reliability of their certifications across diverse geographical contexts. OEKO-TEX® rigorously validates its processes at the laboratory and methodological levels through round-robin tests (interlaboratory comparisons) and institute audits. On the product level, the organisation goes beyond relying on customer-supplied samples with control testing by collecting and re-testing certified materials from other sources. This verifies that their evaluations are based on genuine, real-world samples. Additionally, the engagement with their clients during on-site visits and audits not only builds  trust, but also provides invaluable insight into customer needs and concerns. OEKO-TEX® also conducts unannounced spot visits, reinforcing adherence to the standards. The auditors undergo rigorous training and continuous evaluation administered by OEKOTEX®. This ensures their proficiency and knowledge to uphold the highest standards in auditing.

Drawing upon three decades of experience, OEKO-TEX® has always been committed to driving research, development and innovations forward beyond legal measurements. The network of institutes, with a presence in over 70 countries, is a vital conduit for global insights. Their close collaboration provides diverse perspectives and fosters growth.

OEKO-TEX® is committed to industry dialogue and collaboration, so they actively engage with external stakeholders, such as the UNECE and the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles. Through regular stakeholder consultations, the organisation provides a platform for all interested parties to contribute feedback, which ensures the initiatives are inclusive and responsive to diverse needs. Additionally, the OEKOTEX® international advisory board provides guidance for informed decision-making and strategic direction.

While international supply chains and laws designed to regulate them, remain complex, OEKO-TEX® stays confident: “Looking towards the future, we see tremendous potential in obtaining transparency through digitalisation,” says Elisa Rimmele. “We firmly believe that enhanced data accessibility and exchange will elevate certification standards and optimise production processes overall.”

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