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The textile and footwear industries are regarded as some of the most ecologically harmful industries in the world.

Person checking cloth

Following an NGO-led campaign in 2011, which highlighted the range of toxic and hazardous substances present in wastewater discharge from textile factories, many textile and footwear companies signed up to the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) Program. The ZDHC targets 11 priority chemical groups that should be eliminated in products and emissions pathways along the supply chain, including wastewater and sludge discharge. Signatories commit to adopting a holistic approach to supporting the achievement of zero discharge of hazardous chemicals by 2020.

Five years on from the NGO-led campaign, in October 2016 the US State of Washington proposed changes to the list of Chemicals of High Concern to Children (CHCC), adding 35 new chemicals and removing 10 existing chemicals. This means that companies across the FMCG industry face increasing scrutiny of their chemicals management procedures and reporting practices.

Through our membership in the ZDHC Program, SGS supports the widespread implementation of sustainable chemistry and best practices in the textile and footwear industries to protect consumers, workers and the environment. SGS Zero Discharge Holistic Solutions serve industry stakeholders across the entire supply chain, from chemical suppliers to brands and retailers, helping them to meet their obligations. Our wastewater and sludge analytical services have been developed using our in-depth industry experience, knowledge, and expertise. Based on common practices worldwide, it uses the extensive ZDHC analyte list and applies a comprehensive analytical approach. We also offer additional analytical services, such as inorganic analysis, which includes general chemistry and microbiological analysis.