Sustainable Textile Production- (STeP)

‘Sustainable Textile Production (STeP)’ is a certification system for brands, retail companies and manufacturers from the textile chain who want to communicate their achievements regarding sustainable production to the public in a transparent, credible and clear manner. Certification is possible for production facilities of all processing stages from fibre production, spinning mills, weaving mills, knitting mills to finishing facilities and manufacturers of ready-made textile articles as well as logistic service providers.

Concept

The objective of STeP certification is the permanent implementation of environmental friendly production processes, optimum health and safety and socially acceptable working conditions. The dynamic further development of the STeP standard and the benchmarks allows certified companies to continuously improve their environmental protection achievements and their social responsibility as well as their efficiency. This in turn enables them to achieve the best possible competitive position in the market.

Modular structure

Through modular analysis of all relevant company areas such as management of chemicals, environmental protection, environmental management, health and safety, social responsibility and quality management, the STeP certification allows a comprehensive and reliable analysis of the extent of sustainable management provided by a production facility.

Requirements

The prerequisite for STeP certification is the compliance with certain minimum requirements in the individual company areas. Based on this, the following issues are relevant:

Management of chemicals

  • Compliance with the guidelines of a restricted substances list (RSL)
  • Introduction of a suitable harmful substances management
  • Compliance with the principles of ‘green chemicals’
  • Periodical training and further education regarding the handling of the chemicals used
  • Obligation for appropriate communication regarding the chemicals used and their risks
  • Monitoring the use of chemicals

Environmental protection

  • Compliance with the stipulated limit values
  • Use of best available production technologies
  • Optimization of production processes
  • Efficient use of resources
  • Responsible handling of waste, waste water, emissions etc.
  • Reduction of the CO2 footprint

Environmental management

  • Proof of a suitable environmental management system for targeted coordination and systematic implementation of all environmental protection measures
  • Commitment to environmental targets
  • Periodic creation of environmental reports
  • Appointment of an environmental representative
  • Periodic training regarding the implementation of environmental targets and measures
  • Implementation of existing environmental protection systems (e.g. ISO 14001)

Social Responsibility

  • Ensuring socially acceptable working conditions in the sense of the UN and ILO conventions
  • Execution of performance appraisals for employees
  • Implementation of existing social standards (e.g. SA 8000)
  • Guaranteed training for employees regarding the social issues of an operation

Quality management

  • Implementation of a suitable QM system, e.g. in line with ISO 9001 or operational approaches
  • Guaranteed traceability, responsibility and appropriate documentation regarding the flow of goods and manufactured products
  • Advanced management aspects such as risk management or corporate governance

Health and safety

  • Proof of suitable measures to ensure the required health and safety in the workplace (e.g. filters systems, ear protection etc.)
  • Guaranteed safety of buildings and production plants (e.g. through constructive measures, escape plans, separation of production areas etc.)
  • Risk prevention
  • Implementation of existing safety standards (e.g. OHSAS 18001)

Certificate Validity

A STeP certificate is valid for a period of three years and can subsequently be extended any number of times.

Scoring

STeP certification encompasses three different levels describing the extent to which the company has achieved sustainable production and working conditions:

  • Level 1 = entry level
  • Level 2 = good implementation with further optimisation potential
  • Level 3 = exemplary implementation in the sense of a best practice example

Advantages for brands and retailers

STeP allows globally operating brands and retail companies to select suitable suppliers worldwide who meet their demands related to environmental protection, chemical management and social responsibility. This enables them to clearly and completely document their joint sustainable commitment to end consumers together with in the supply chain.

Advantages for production facilities

Textile and clothing manufacturers can make their production processes much more efficient on the basis of a STeP certification. Our system helps them to determine their company’s positioning with regard to sustainability and shows areas for improvement. The independent proof of sustainable production conditions also provides an image boost allowing the companies to open up new markets and supplier relations.