Issues such as environmental protection, sustainability and resource conservation have come into focus. Conscious consumers are holding companies accountable. They are demanding due diligence, protection of human rights and fair and transparent supply chains. In the political arena, Germany's supply chain law aims to hold companies responsible for human rights. The European Union is also planning accountability legislation, which should come into force as early as mid-2021.
But why exactly is such a law necessary?
"The distribution and production of a single shirt involves many actors from different continents," explains Georg Dieners, Secretary General of the OEKO-TEX® Association. The responsibility for fairness along the entire supply chain is thus left to companies. Although some are taking their own initiative, a cross-EU directive is still needed to bring all companies to action. Social and ecological standards would bring transparency to very complex supply chains.
How is OEKO-TEX® already bringing transparency to supply chains?
It has long been clear to OEKO-TEX® that sustainable action and transparency are vital to the success of a company and the future of our planet. For almost 30 years, the association has certified the sustainability of textile and leather processes and products. STANDARD 100, LEATHER STANDARD, STeP, ECO PASSPORT and MADE IN GREEN by OEKO-TEX® labels are world-renowned for high standards.
In the future, the association would like to go further and sees a holistic approach to sustainability as indispensable. Manufacturers and brands must take social and ecological action throughout the supply chain. Responsibility should start as early as the product development stage. OEKO-TEX® aims to expand its portfolio to recognize brands that act responsibly and fairly. Certifying responsible corporate governance and supply chain due diligence will combat greenwashing and give brands the credibility to communicate sustainability efforts.
And the bottom line?
One thing is certain: Something must be done! Human rights must be respected and protected by all concerned. The current political focus shows that change is coming. The OEKO-TEX® Association is doing everything it can to support companies on this path. Georg Dieners agrees:
"To be competitive today, sustainable business practices are crucial. Company success is not only judged in economic terms, but also social and ecological - something that consumers are demanding more often and more publicly. Transparency and trust are becoming the main factors influencing consumer purchasing decisions. Human rights must have top priority. The EU's planned supply chain law now puts the onus on companies. I welcome it as a solid basis for action by all players in our industry.“