STeP by OEKO-TEX® stands for Sustainable Textile & Leather Production and is a modular certification system for production facilities in the textile and leather industry. The goal of STeP is to implement environmentally friendly production processes in the long term, to improve health and safety and to promote socially responsible working conditions at production sites. The target groups for STeP certification are textile and leather manufacturers as well as brands and retailers.

What does the certification mean?

STeP differs from other certification systems because, instead of considering only individual sustainability aspects, it includes a comprehensive analysis and assessment of the production conditions instead. STeP analyses all important areas of a company using 6 modules:

  1. Chemical management
  2. Environmental performance
  3. Environmental management
  4. Social responsibility
  5. Quality management
  6. Health protection and safety at work

The aim of STeP certification is the long-term implementation of environmentally friendly production processes, social working conditions and optimum health and safety.

Certification for the entire textile & leather production chain

STeP focusses on the certification of the entire production chain in the area of textile and leather.

Textile manufacturers from all processing levels can be certified, from fibre manufacture to spinning and weaving/knitting to finishing and making up. In the leather industry, all processes such as tanning, retanning, dying, fatliquoring, finishing and making up can be certified. Logistics centres and manufacturers of accessories, foams and mattresses can also apply for STeP certification.

Type of Operations

Which brands are already on-board?

Many companies use the free showcase on the OEKO-TEX® website as an advertising platform with an international presence. Check our Buying Guide to see which brands have already had their leather articles certified!

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Validity check possible at any time

You can check the validity status of the certification at any time using the number given on the label. To do so, enter the complete certificate number in the corresponding field on our website.

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STeP at a glance

Environmental and chemical management

STeP provides targeted support to companies to help them implement environmentally friendly production processes in the long term: from the use of chemicals to responsible handling of wastewater and emissions to reduction of the carbon footprint.


STeP recommends specific actions to improve working conditions and strengthens health and safety protection for workers at the production sites.

Social responsibility

STeP supports socially responsible and fair working conditions at production sites. This includes both checking working times, wage payments and social insurance as well as compliance with hygiene and medical requirements. The recognition of existing social standards in the production facility is also part of STeP.


STeP contributes towards the continuous improvement of production processes and the efficient use of resources, and thus creates the basis for an optimum competitive position.

Introducing our new Carbon and Water Footprint Tool 

As part of our Roadmap towards Excellence for facilities, STeP by OEKO-TEX® is constantly evolving to meet changing industry requirements, provide benchmarking and guide facilities in continuous improvement – this includes addressing the fashion industry’s need to take climate action seriously. 

Our new Carbon and Water Footprint Tool demonstrates this commitment and helps STeP certified facilities continue to advance their environmental management and performance.  

By end of 2021, textile facilities will be able to voluntarily measure and report their carbon emissions and water usage impacts. This is offered within the STeP certification programme (and can benefit during the STeP assessment) .

Learn more about our new Carbon and Water Footprint Tool

Benefits for brands

  • Nowadays, consumers expect textiles that are not only harmless to health and of high quality but also expect purchased articles to be produced in a socially responsible and sustainable way. STeP supports you in managing the growing requirements relating to sustainability.
  • STeP gives you the option to find suitable suppliers from around the world who can meet your demands for environmental protection and social responsibility.
  • The STeP certificate enables you to document your sustainable commitment in connection with your supply chain to your end consumers in a clear and complete way.
  • With the STeP scoring, you receive a comprehensive analysis and assessment of the production processes of the manufacturer and learn which areas of the company still have the potential for improvement.
  • The independent verification system DETOX TO ZERO by OEKO-TEX® is integrated in STeP. You can thus easily determine the status with regard to fulfilment of the goals of the Greenpeace Detox Campaign. These refer to gradual optimisation and enhanced monitoring of chemicals management and wastewater quality.
  • The STeP certificate is the prerequisite for MADE IN GREEN by OEKO-TEX®. MADE IN GREEN is an independent product label for textiles from all levels of the textile chain and indicates to the customer that the article has been tested for harmful substances and produced in a sustainable way.
  • STeP by OEKO-TEX® recognises different standards and certifications from third-party providers, e.g. BSCI, FWF, SA8000, ISO, 14001, ISO 9001.
  • The Carbon and Water Footprint Tool is a voluntary program that helps STeP certified facilities: 
    • Understand their production-related carbon emissions and water usage  
    • Identify which processes have highest environmental impacts 
    • Act to reduce carbon and water usage in the future 
    • Report results to sustainability conscious customers 

Apply for STeP certification now

STeP provides targeted support for the challenges of sustainable textile production. Here you can learn which prerequisites your suppliers must meet for STeP certification.

Find out more