Noting how the past year upended the industry, “the rapid progress of digitalization and the increasing international focus on sustainability are having positive influences on society and the economy,” affirmed Georg Dieners, secretary general of Oeko-Tex.
Dieners finds transparency tools a reigning priority among manufacturers — some regions more than others.
Over the past year, the organization issued 31,696 sustainability certificates and labels, up from 24,205 in 2020. Regions that saw the highest sustainability certification adoption included Asia issuing 18,703 certifications, Western Europe issuing 8,663 certifications and the Middle East issuing 2,368 certifications, according to the report.
All of the Oeko-Tex certifications saw increased adoption despite the pandemic, with a 31 percent increase on average. But labels like the “Made in Green” standard, a marker of responsible production, saw a 108 percent increase in certifiers. The “Eco Passport,” which screens for harmful substances, was next, at 56 percent; the Leather Standard followed, at 30 percent, then the Standard 100 (another screen for harmful substances), at 20 percent, and finally STeP (a marker of socially responsible workplaces), at a 13 percent uptick in adoption.
On-site visits were up, with 5,026 visits occurring for leather standards, for example, many of which were self-assessments due to pandemic restrictions.
The organization also met collaboration milestones working with firms Quantis for carbon and water footprinting for textile processes and Spoor for leather supply chain traceability. The tool has benefited factories in maintaining firmer guidelines on worker safety. It will enable companies to identify their potential to reduce carbon emissions and water consumption.
As with tools from Textile Exchange, Oeko-Tex tools were included in Amazon’s launch of its Climate Pledge Friendly program and represent a growing alignment toward United Nations sustainable development goals, or SDGs, as well as the 1.5-degree Celsius pathway for global temperature warming.