Levi’s steps up chemicals testing in supply chain

20 November 2019

Levi’s is partnering with research centre Hohenstein to enhance levels of testing, verification, and transparency for chemical safety in its supply chain.

The companies are collaborating to utilise the Eco Passport by Oeko-Tex, an independent certification system for chemicals in the apparel, textile, and leather industry.

Eco Passport analyses individual ingredients in chemical products to ensure they are not harmful to human health and meet international statutory requirements. On-site inspections will be carried out as part of the certification to validate claims that suppliers are using safer and better chemistry, manufactured according to industry best practices. 

Hohenstein, a partner institute of Oeko-Texo, specialises in the testing, certification and research of textile products. The firms said the collaboration was built on a shared perspective that “safer inputs lead to safer outputs”.

The certification will build on the capabilities of Levi’s Screened Chemistry programme, which scrutinises chemical formulations to prevent potentially hazardous compounds from entering the apparel supply chain and identifies safer alternatives.

The partnership will enable Levi’s to advance and better implement its existing chemicals management programme and “create a template that others in and beyond apparel can follow”, the denim brand said. 

It will also result in a programme that goes “beyond a risk management approach and provides a roadmap for companies to eliminate and prevent the introduction of chemical hazards in the supply chain”. 

Michael Kobori, VP of sustainability at Levi’s, said: “Levi Strauss & Co is committed to responsible chemicals management across our supply chain and our industry. This collaboration helps take our existing programmes to the next level by establishing a new standard for responsible chemical stewardship that melds the hazard-based approach of Screened Chemistry with the robust testing and validation capabilities of Hohenstein.” 

John Frazier, senior technical director at Hohenstein, said: “We believe that the collaboration is a significant step toward identifying and pulling better chemistry into apparel, footwear, and textile supply chains.” 

Meanwhile, CEO of Gucci Marco Bizzarri has called on CEOs from other corporates to hold themselves accountable for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions throughout supply chains.

In an open letter he said: “The reality is that the majority of the GHG emissions linked to day-to-day business activities are created upstream in the supply chain. I firmly believe that we must all be accountable for these emissions and redefine corporate carbon neutrality to encompass the entire supply chain. 

“This can be achieved through a logical and clear strategy to ensure that a company accounts for all the GHG emissions within its own operations and across the supply chain, prioritises actions to first avoid, reduce and restore, and then offsets all the remaining emissions as a final measure.”

In September 2019, Gucci announced it would become carbon-neutral by 2040

Separately, EasyJet announced it would be offsetting the carbon emissions from the fuel used for all of its flights, as part of a wider goal to operate net-zero carbon flights across its whole network. It will do so through “forestry, renewable and community-based projects”. The airline claims it will be the world’s first major airline to do so. 

It added carbon offsetting is an interim measure while new technologies are developed, and confirmed it would support the development of hybrid and electric planes, and work with others across the industry to “reinvent and de-carbonise aviation over the long-term”.

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