Early March, two textile companies from Morocco and two from Tunisia were selected to participate in pilot demonstrations for the second phase of the SwitchMed/MED TEST III project. With guidance from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the UL, the companies will receive assistance to develop roadmaps for achieving ZDHC compliance within their production facilities.
The ZDHC Programme is a collaboration of organizations from the textile, apparel, leather and footwear industry working together to move the industry towards zero discharge of hazardous chemicals. Phasing out and substituting hazardous chemicals in the textile value chain requires know-how and infrastructure to ensure that the chemical performance and wastewater effluence align with the ZDHC standards.
The first phase of the MED TEST III project in Morocco and Tunisia has already given 88 staff members from 19 small and large textile producers training on managing chemicals according to the ZDHC guidelines and acquiring 171 certifications.
The four pilot demonstrations will guide the participating companies to streamline the ZDHC guidelines into their purchasing policy of chemicals, chemical inventory management, wastewater testing protocols, and in the identification of critical situations to audits aimed to verify the practical on-site implementation of the chemical management.
By the end of the pilots, in 2022, the participating companies will have developed their roadmaps for ZDHC compliance. Meeting ZDHC criteria will help businesses meet environmental requirements and sustainable production criteria from international retailers and brands, increasingly attentive to sustainable and environmentally conscious suppliers.
“Giving small and medium-sized businesses the ability to comply with the ZDHC guidelines is an opportunity for businesses, not only to drive real sustainability impacts but also to push their competitive advantage within the global textile supply chain,” says Roberta De Palma, Chief Technical Advisor at UNIDO.
Giving actors along the textile industry supply chain in Morocco and Tunisia the ability to meet future requirements markets and brands for sustainably produced textile and garment products will require long-term commitments and policies that can support businesses in becoming ZDHC compliant. At the end of the MED TEST III project, UNIDO will take lessons learned from the project, including the pilot demonstrations, to line out a roadmap for industry stakeholders and policymakers that can support the uptake of more sustainable production practices in the textile industry.
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