Certifications for safer chemistry you should know about

Reducing the leather industry’s chemical footprint
There is an urgent need to change the way products are produced. Chemicals management is a vital part of creating a sustainable leather value chain and minimizing the impact on the environment. Not only for a cleaner planet. Eliminating hazardous chemicals from the manufacturing process is also vital in advancing public health, for workers and end-consumers.

How can we – brands, chemical supplier, leather manufacturers – work together and reduce the industry’s chemical footprint?

Transparency in chemical use and screening of chemicals are key. Guidelines and certifications are important tools to achieve these goals.

4 Essential Certifications

Especially for designers and brands in fashion, footwear, automotive, furniture and aviation it can be a challenge to acquire information on how to source sustainable materials. Every industry has got its certifications, restrictions list and guidelines. For the leather supply chain we would like to highlight four certifications that every brand should know of.

Leather Working Group (LWG)

LWG assesses the environmental compliance and performance capabilities of leather manufacturers and promotes sustainable environmental practices. LWG has three ratings: Gold, Silver, Bronze. When you procure leather it should come from a LWG Gold Rated tannery. There are very good tanneries who are not yet LWG certified, but without the certification it makes it difficult to verify. LWG is the most general accepted certification in the fashion world at the moment.

Smit & Zoon has been – and still is – one of the main drivers to intensify the focus on the safe use of chemicals in the audit protocol for leather manufacturers.

Visit the LWG website

ZDHC – Roadmap to Zero

The ZDHC Roadmap to Zero Programme is a collaborative initiative of fashion brands, chemical suppliers, manufacturers and laboratories working to reduce the chemical footprint of apparel, footwear and leather-goods. The ZDHC MRSL conformance process offers brands, material and chemicals suppliers, a tool of recognised and accepted options to provide conformance certificates to the ZDHC MRSL. The higher the conformance level, the more confidence there is that the chemical formulation will consistently meet and conform to the ZDHC MRSL. Level 3 is the highest level to be obtained.

View our ZDHC certificates

Visit the ZDHC website

Cradle to Cradle Certified®

How we design and make products today shapes the world we will inhabit tomorrow. Cradle to Cradle Certified® is the global standard for products that are safe, circular and responsibly made. Leading brands, retailers, designers and manufacturers across the value chain rely on the Cradle to Cradle Certified Product Standard to ensure the impact of their products on people and planet is a positive one.

More about Cradle to Cradle Certified

ToxFMD Screened Chemistry®

Screened Chemistry® is used by a variety of brands (such as H&M, Levi Strauss & Co., Nike Inc. and C&A) with the goal of advancing public health and environmental protection around the world. Screened Chemistry® is the concept of identifying the use of safer alternatives while eliminating hazardous chemicals in the industry. In a Screened Chemistry® approach, human health and environmental impacts are fully evaluated so dangerous chemical substitutions are avoided.

Visit Screened Chemistry website

Product in the spotlight: Zeology

Our revolutionary sustainable tanning agent Zeology has set a new standard in leather tanning. And it shows by the certificates Zeology has obtained:

Are you looking for chrome free, aldehyde free and heavy metal free leather? It starts with Zeology.

More about Zeology

Brand in the spotlight: Levi Strauss & Co

One of the frontrunners in the fashion industry when it comes to the use of safe chemicals is Levi Strauss & Co (LS&Co.) In 2012, LS&Co. joined the Joint Roadmap Toward Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC), pledging to reach zero discharge of hazardous chemicals by 2020 — a set of goals they met and a major milestone for our chemical management program. The pioneering Screened Chemistry program they launched in 2014 is designed to understand the potential human and environmental hazards of chemicals before they enter the supply chain, and to help find safer and more sustainable alternatives. They met their goal of zero discharge of hazardous chemicals by 2020.

LS&Co. is the initiator of the Screened Chemistry program.

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More information

Do you want to know more about this topic? Or can we support in your material sourcing decisions? Contact us – we are happy to help!

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Levi Strauss safe chemistry



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