Back in March this year, independent Swiss testing and certification organisation TESTEX held a webinar focusing on the importance of chemical certifications such as ECO PASSPORT by OEKO-TEX in the textile industry when it comes to sustainability and protecting human health.
Helen Parry, Managing Director at Magna was delighted to be invited to take part in the discussion. In this blog post, we round up some of the key discussion points and findings.
The Rising Demand for Transparency
Q: Consumers want transparency and to know if their clothes or toxic or harmful. How is the sector responding the rising demand for transparency and how are you supporting the fashion industry in becoming more transparent?
Helen Parry: Consumers are becoming much more savvy about the products that they’re buying and want more sustainable products and transparency. If you look at the trends right now, with Nike introducing bio-derived dyes into their footwear. That kind of limited-edition range sells straight away. People are becoming more aware of what is actually possible from a chemical perspective, and are demanding even more from the manufacturers such as ourselves, we need to rise to that challenge.
We’ve seen a shift towards water-based solutions but we can’t stop there. There are still other components to our products so we have to think creatively about how can we make the chemistry even more sustainable.
“Bio-derived materials are now offering more durable biodegradable solutions and this is definitely going to play a key role in the future.”
The more testing and transparency that we can share with brands and retailers will ultimately mean that more information is available to consumers. This is the direction now and it needs to be the focus of chemical manufacturers to think creatively about how we can look for more sustainable solutions.
Why ECO-PASSPORT by OEKO-TEX?
Q: MagnaColours® has successfully achieved ECO PASSPORT certification for many products alongside the highest level of ZDHC (Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals) MRSL conformance – level 3. Why did you choose ECO PASSPORT by OEKO-TEX as your certification scheme?
Helen Parry: ECO PASSPORT is the most widely accepted certification in the industry so it was an easy decision for us. We also want to give maximum value and transparency to our customers, this is really an ideal solution that provides warranty and a badge of confidence.
Adapting to Challenges
Q: The unprecedented situation in 2020 and 2021 has posed great challenges with restricted traveling and lockdowns, what are the major challenges in getting your products certified with ECO PASSPORT by OEKO-TEX? And how did you overcome the challenges?
Helen Parry: We continued to test our inks in the same way, sending samples off to TESTEX for evaluation. However, we were delighted that our progression towards our goal of obtaining Level 3 status on ZDHC was not hampered, as TESTEX were able to organise a virtual site audit last November 2020. This was successfully conducted via video and as soon as the restrictions allow, an onsite audit will be organised.
Building Compliance into Product Development
Q: Do you have quick steps to share with chemical formulators who would like to start the ECO PASSPORT certification?
Helen Parry: I think it’s important to understand what your customers restricted substances lists are, and to make an assessment against your own products. Start with your simple products that you have a high confidence with and then start to build the certification of your product range based on this. The process of testing is very straightforward but start to think about it during the product development stage. If you embed chemical compliance in at this stage, you don’t have to go back and revisit or reformulate any products.