With growing pressure on companies to take responsibility for human rights and the environmental impact of their supply chains, the responsible business tool, according to Oeko-Tex, is based on and aims to prevent and mitigate existing and potential negative impacts of companies’ own operations, their supply chains and their broader business relationships.
“Expanding our portfolio in this direction was important to us. Oeko-Tex has stood for product safety for more than three decades and is continuously committed to transparent supply chains and corporate responsibility,” says Oeko-Tex Secretary General Georg Dieners. “In terms of due diligence, a holistic analysis and evaluation is crucial. To develop this robust standard, we used our proven, globally standardized system and 30 years of experience in the textile and leather industry.”
The standard is based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), the OECD Guidance for Multinational Enterprises, the OECD Guidance on Due Diligence for Textiles and Footwear and the OECD Guidance on Responsible Business Conduct. It also ensures compliance with the German Supply Chain Act and the proposed European Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive. Like the OECD guidelines, the Oeko-Tex Responsible Business Due Diligence process is divided into six sections: business policy, risk assessment, integration of appropriate measures, continuous monitoring, transparent communication and grievance mechanism.
In addition, Öko-Tex contains a seventh, voluntary module for climate protection. In the climate module, companies commit to the Paris climate agreement and its goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures. With this module, companies can map their climate performance, strategy and target implementation, measure improvements in the company and target further improvements in the supply chain.
Oeko-Tex Responsible Business is a modular system that facilitates access for both small companies and newcomers as well as large multinational corporations. The self-assessment serves as a stand-alone tool for assessing due diligence status. This snapshot of the company’s responsible business status highlights areas for improvement. Each participant can choose the next step of validation through an audit, leading to a certificate and a publicly available report. Interested parties can apply on the Oeko-Tex website and, after self-declaration, decide whether they want to continue with the audit.
The certificate, which is valid for three years, includes annual compliance audits and can then be extended.