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ZURICH – Swiss textile standard, Oeko-Tex, has launched a new tool aimed at helping businesses to demonstrate compliance with impending due diligence laws. ‘Responsible Business’ is based on a range of international policies and has an additional focus on climate protection. Oeko-Tex says the tool is targeted at brands and retailers in the textile and leather industries.

The certification tool can be used for self-assessments or to allow third-party verification. It will assess six areas: business policy, risk assessment, integration of appropriate actions, continuous monitoring, transparent communication, and complaint mechanism.

Across the world, new laws are in the pipeline which will legally compel multi-nationals to take greater responsibility for – and be held accountable on – social and environmental transgressions in the supply chains. The European Union is well down the road with such laws, as are individual states such as Germany, France and Holland.

“An expansion of our portfolio in this direction was important to us. Oeko-Tex has stood for product safety for more than three decades and continuously advocated transparent supply chains and corporate responsibility,” said Oeko-Tex secretary general, Georg Dieners. “In terms of due diligence, a holistic analysis and evaluation is key. To develop this robust standard, we have used our proven, globally standardised system and 30 years of experience in the textiles and leather industry.”

The standard is based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), the OECD Guideline for Multinational Enterprises, the OECD Due Diligence Guidance Textile and Footwear and the OECD Guideline for Responsible Business Conduct.

While the standard is focused on six areas, it also includes an extra climate module. In the climate module, companies commit to the Paris Agreement and its target to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures. With this module, companies can map their climate performance, strategy and goal implementation, measure improvements within the company and target further supply chain improvements.

Every participant can choose the next step of validation through an audit, which results in a certificate and a report that can be shared publicly. The certificate, valid for 3 years, includes annual compliance audits and can subsequently be extended.

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