STeP by OEKO-TEX®
Certification is possible for production facilities of all textile processing stages:
- fibre production
- spinning mills
- weaving mills
- knitting mills
- finishing facilities
- manufacturers of ready-made textile items
- A STeP certification supports the permanent implementation and continuous improvement of environmentally friendly and responsible production processes.
- Ensures safe and fair working conditions, and the implementation of a chemical management system.
- With its six modules, STeP by OEKO-TEX® allows comprehensive analysis and evaluation with regard to sustainable production conditions. At the same time, other processes and systems that have already been implemented will be taken into account.
- The STeP system enables transparent evaluation of the status quo and independent communication about measures for improvement and improvement successes.
- 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.
The prerequisite for STeP certification is the compliance with certain minimum requirements in the individual company areas. These include, for example:
- Introduction of a suitable chemical management system
- Compliance with the guidelines of a restricted substances list (MRSL)
- Regular training and further education regarding the handling of the chemicals used
- Support with regard to compliance with DETOX and ZDHC requirements
- Transparent communication and controls regarding the chemicals used and their risks
- Monitoring the use of chemicals, the procurement of chemicals and auxiliary agents, and their storage and use
- Compliance with the stipulated limit values (waste water, emissions, etc.)
- Use of best available production technologies
- Efficient use of resources
- Reduction of the CO2 footprint
- Implementation of existing environmental management systems through targeted coordination and systematic implementation of all environmental protection measures
- Determination of environmental targets
- Regular creation of environmental reports
- Ensuring socially acceptable working conditions in the sense of the UN human rights convention and ILO core labour standards
- Implementation of management systems to continually improve working conditions
- Compliance with stringent requirements such as for working time, wages, etc.
- Incorporation of local stakeholders
- Implementation of a QM system, e.g. in accordance with ISO 9001 or other operational approaches
- Guaranteed traceability, responsibility, and appropriate documentation regarding the flow of goods of the manufactured products
- Advanced management aspects such as risk management or corporate governance, including anti-corruption and company codes
Health and safety
- Implementation of recognised standards of safety (e.g. in accordance with OHSAS 18001)
- Measures to guarantee safety at the workplace and personal protective equipment
- Guaranteed safety of buildings and production plants (e.g. through constructive measures, escape plans, separation of production areas etc.)
- Prevention measures
To be able to verify the sustainability of production facilities and make this traceable and transparent, OEKO-TEX® requests various details from companies that want to be certified in accordance with the requirements of STeP. The data collection is paperless and takes place using a web-based assessment tool. This consists of a questionnaire that also has a modular structure. After filling out the introductory requirements, the companies can then decide for themselves how much they want to answer. The more questions answered positively, the better the scoring that the production facilities receive.
STeP certification encompasses three different levels describing the extent to which the production site achieved sustainable production and working conditions:
- Level 1 = entry level (all minimum requirements are fulfilled)
- Level 2 = good implementation with further optimisation potential
- Level 3 = exemplary implementation in the sense of a best practice example
The STeP certificate shows the following scoring results:
- The STeP evaluation level achieved for each module
- An overall evaluation for all modules
- An individual evaluation of the analysed company areas is displayed in the STeP report
The data and information provided by the company in the framework of the assessment are analysed by OEKO-TEX® and checked for plausibility. Only then is verification carried out in the form of an on-site audit of the production facility by the OEKO-TEX® institute in charge. When doing so, the information provided in the assessment is validated once again and evaluated on the basis of the assessment structure.
A STeP certificate is valid for a duration of three years and can subsequently be extended any number of times. For this aim, the production facility has to provide evidence within the framework of another assessment and compliance audit that the requested criteria are met.
- Verifications & On-Site Visits
In addition to the initial audit in the framework of the initial STeP certification and extension, OEKO-TEX® carry out both intermediate audits (compliance audits) and verification audits to control the on-site compliance of the required criteria at the production facilities after the certificate has been issued. In suspect cases, these can also be carried out unannounced.