Mr Marc Sidler (right) and other speakers at the Fashion Summit 2018.
Mr Marc Sidler (right) and other speakers at the Fashion Summit 2018.
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For companies with a global supply chain, managing compliance on a country-by-country basis is very time consuming and risky. Local regulations can change without warning and can also be out of line with the latest medical knowledge and societal values.

This is how global standards come into play. They can remove the variability and complexity along the textile value chain in different countries, and ensure that any country’s sustainability standards are met no matter where textiles are made.

“Sustainability does not recognize geographic borders. A sustainable global textile supply chain can’t exist if factories pollute the waters in one country or people are treated unfairly in another,” said Marc Sidler, Group CMO of TESTEX, a global testing institute. “A truly sustainable textile industry requires a global standard for environmental and social responsibility that raises the bar wherever textile products are made.”

TESTEX took part in the Fashion Summit 2018 on September 7 to discuss the topic of “Global Standards: How Do We Achieve Less Variability And Less Complexity” in today’s fast-paced retail market that requires companies to have tremendous flexibility in order to respond to opportunities in a cost-effective and timely manner.

Complexity and variability are intricately linked in the textile industry. Complexity is a significant characteristic of the textile and apparel industry and encompasses the vast number of SKUs, suppliers, manufacturing countries, retailers, and consumer demands that make up the market. Variability is a component of that complexity and is primarily introduced by product safety, environmental, and worker safety ordinances that can differ across the countries and regions in which products are made or sold.

Mr Marc Sidler, Group CMO of TESTEX.According to Mr Sidler, global standards remove the complexity involved with qualifying new resources quickly and with confidence. Global standards also open up options and flexibility when sourcers and manufacturers can be sure that adding a new factory to their supply chain won’t undermine their sustainability standards. 

“It’s important to take a long term outlook on sustainability in the textile industry. There are no simple answers,” Mr Sidler said. “It requires significant planning, investment, and ongoing improvement. Global standards can help simplify that planning process by defining the rules of engagement for all parties who choose to participate in a more sustainable textile industry.”

A 170-year-old Swiss company headquartered in Zurich, TESTEX is a member institute of the OEKO-TEX® Association and the official representative in Australia, Canada, the P.R. China, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Switzerland, South Korea, Hong Kong region and Taiwan region.

The group tests and certifies textile products based on global standards such as ECO PASSPORT by OEKO-TEX®, which is designed to address the specific challenges chemical manufacturers face in their efforts to comply with sustainability initiatives. ECO PASSPORT by OEKO-TEX® is accepted as an indicator of ZDHC MRSL conformance Level 1 and Level 3 within the ZDHC Gateway.

As circular economy is a big trend in society, the MADE IN GREEN by OEKO-TEX® with its traceable label offers increased transparency to customers.

TESTEX is committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It has recently joined the ZDHC Roadmap to Zero Programme, aiming to act as a link between its customers and the programme’s signatory brands, thereby creating added-value.

“Sustainability isn’t a trend, it is an attitude! Only if the whole supply chain addresses the challenges we create a big impact to the environment which is urgently needed,” Mr Sidler said.

A long term outlook is necessary because changing the industry’s manufacturing base is a long term proposition, he added.

We can’t risk fixing one sustainability issue while creating 10 others. Again, by using global standards, the industry can simplify and quantify the definition of sustainability and clarify what is required to attain it, he concluded.