20 years of OEKO-TEX®
Various activities for the anniversary year
Awards for exemplary businesses
Next year, the International OEKO-TEX® Association will be presenting the OEKO-TEX® Sustainability Award for the first time to companies who have achieved outstanding performance and innovations in the area of sustainability. All manufacturers and retailers who are certified worldwide according to OEKO-TEX® Standard 100, 1000 or 100plus are eligible to apply – that is a total of over 9,500 companies. Interested companies can submit their application on the dedicated website www.oeko-tex.com/sustainability by completing the form provided.
Initially, a panel of experts from the OEKO-TEX® Association will each month pre-select two Companies of the Month from the applications received – one company which has its products certified under human ecology aspects in accordance with OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 and another production company which operates under proven environmentally friendly and socially responsible conditions in accordance with OEKO-TEX® Standard 1000. These companies and their achievements in the area of sustainability will be portrayed in detail on the OEKO-TEX® website at the address www.oeko-tex.com/company-of-the-month and in form of press releases and other means. In April 2013 the panel of experts will then select the winners of the “OEKO-TEX® Sustainability Award 2013” from the group of “Companies of the Month” in the five categories environment management, safety management, quality management, social responsibility and product innovation.
The participating companies will – among other things – receive a certificate, a logo graphic and an online advertising banner for informing their customers about their commitment to sustainability and about the nomination for the "Sustainability Award".
International consumer survey confirms importance of neutral testing for harmful substances
Nearly every second consumer worldwide rates textile quality labels proving testing for harmful substances as important when purchasing textiles and clothing. This is the result of a consumer survey carried out over the internet in 13 countries (Austria, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom) by the Cologne institute for trade research (Kölner Institut für Handelsforschung - IfH) on behalf of the OEKO-TEX® Foundation. Between 200 and 300 retail consumers in each country were asked about their general interest in textiles tested for harmful substances and about their familiarity with OEKO-TEX® Standard 100, among other questions.
The consumer survey clearly shows that consumers have a great need for tested safety for textiles. The OEKO-TEX® label on the product is an important indicator for this and is perceived as proof of neutral testing for harmful substances and therefore as a clear added benefit. Manufacturers and retailers can use the labels as a prominent way of upgrading their certified products. The study proves that this is increasingly true not only with regard to the large import markets in Europe and America but also for the own domestic markets of large textile producers like Turkey, India and China.
In this respect, the International OEKO-TEX® Association will continue to push information for end consumers and retailers through testing for harmful substances and the label “Confidence in Textiles” and also increasingly support manufacturers with labelling and communication.
Training competition for sales professionals
Employees from textile retail all over Europe compete with their specialist knowledge during the SalesPro Games 2012 until 15 October 2012. The website www.oeko-tex.com/salespro provides training documents for the participants for the product ranges Baby & Junior, Underwear & Outerwear and Home Textiles. These are helpful for answering the 15 questions with which the participants can qualify for the main round starting in November.
The aim of the SalesPro Games is to convey manufacturer-independent information about textiles tested for harmful substances as well as general sales techniques. The participants learn how to directly employ this information in sales discussions, optimising the quality of their advice and their sales success.
New internet presence
The International OEKO-TEX® Association will soon present itself with a completely revised website at www.oeko-tex.com. In addition to a more modern and fresher look the main focus of the relaunch was the structural optimisation. Visitors can select their language and the required target group area on a central portal page. A stricter delimitation of the contents for certificate holders, manufacturers, retailers, end consumers and members of the press gives the overall site a clearer arrangement. Language and image selection were also optimised with respect to these target groups.
The central content of the site is the so-called buyer's guide which internet users can use to search for OEKO-TEX® certified products. Companies will in future also have the option to use a self service portal to complete the data from the certificates with relevant information such as company portraits, detailed product descriptions, brand information or contact data.
Outlook for the next 20 years
In 2012, different events will offer a look back at the past 20 years of OEKO-TEX®, but most importantly an outlook for the next 20 years. The large bandwidth of the topics covered reflects the diversity of the OEKO-TEX® system: The “Open Day” at the Spanish AITEX institute focused on product-related testing for harmful substances according to OEKO-TEX® Standard 100. In April, this enabled representatives of manufacturers and retailers to closely experience the testing process from acceptance of orders to the different laboratory tests.
During the same month, 200 company representatives followed an invitation to an OEKO-TEX® presentation with a fashion show in Shanghai, organised by the local branch of the Testex test institute. In his presentation, Dr. Jean-Pierre Haug, General Secretary of the International OEKO-TEX® Association, especially focused on the current “Detox” campaign by the environmental organisation Greenpeace which calls for elimination of dangerous chemicals in textile production. A demand which is already being met particularly by companies which are certified as environmentally friendly production sites according to OEKO-TEX® Standard 1000.
The issue of sustainability was also the focus of the presentations and discussions at the anniversary symposium in Frankfurt/Main (Germany). Among other topics, Werner Moser, Assistant Managing Director of Mattes + Amann in Tieringen (Germany), explained how medium-sized companies can use active sustainability as a locational advantage in global competition. In 1993, the manufacturer of fine knit fabrics from Tieringen was one of the first companies to have their products certified according to OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 and is also one of the environmentally friendly production sites according to OEKO-TEX® Standard 1000.
A seminar in New York on 14 November 2012 has the motto “OEKO-TEX® - The next 20 years”. The keynote speaker will be Robert F. Kennedy Jr. who is known in the USA for his political involvement in the area of environmental protection and sustainability. Representatives of the most important textile and clothing companies in the USA and Canada are expected to attend the event. The event offers European and Asian companies an ideal platform for active networking for the North American market. Interested companies can register for the free event at www.oeko-tex.com from 01 September 2012 – spaces are limited.
Last but not least the international testing and certification system of OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 will be awarded the accolade of “Selected Location in the Land of Ideas”. “The Land of Ideas” is an initiative by the German Federal Government and the German industry. Under the patronage of the German federal president, companies and institutions which have excelled through their spirit of innovation, inventiveness and resourcefulness have been presented with the award since 2006. With its decision, the panel of experts from the “Land of Ideas” pay tribute to the commitment of the International OEKO-TEX® Association in its 20th anniversary year. Long before the term “sustainability” had even found its way into everyday use, the guidelines of OEKO-TEX® Standard 100, 1000 and 100plus were already ensuring better implementation of sustainability within the textile chain. Today around 9,500 companies around the globe work together with OEKO-TEX®. It is due to their efforts that today's consumers all over the world are able to use millions of textile products which pose no risk to health.