The OEKO-TEX® certification system for Sustainable Textile Production (STeP) was officially introduced at the Prime Source Forum in Hong Kong on Mar. 26, 2013. STeP is a certification system for global brands, retail companies and production facilities that want to communicate their achievements in sustainable production in a transparent and credible way. Around 400 top decision makers representing the global textile value chain were in attendance.
OEKO-TEX secretary general Dr. Jean-Pierre Haug presented an overview of the OEKO-TEX services that have been in place in the market for 21 years, followed by an explanation of the concepts of STeP certification.
After the presentation guests were invited to attend an OEKO-TEX-sponsored reception. Executives and sustainability managers from industry, retail and associations, as well as trade journalists, networked and discussed future challenges in implementing sustainable and socially acceptable production conditions in the textile and clothing industry.
Dr. Haug commented, “The many positive reactions to our new STeP certification and the in some cases rather specific discussions with the guests at our [reception] showed that the companies are consistently accepting their responsibilities regarding environmental protection, health and safety and socially acceptable working conditions, focusing on independent certificates to provide credible proof.”
Guests included representatives from industry leaders, such as Marks & Spencer, the VF Corporation, SBS (Shirt by Shirt), Target, Triumph, KTC Limited, New Balance, Central Textiles, Benetton, Ann Taylor and many others.
Reflecting on STeP, Dr. Haug explains, “What the companies want is an instrument that is as transparent as possible and can be used to assess all relevant company areas with regard to sustainability while at the same time allowing them to communicate their commitment to sustainability to customers and to the public in a clear and understandable way. That is exactly what the OEKO-TEX certification for Sustainable Textile Production—or STeP—offers.”