Public Resources

The pages listed hereafter summarise such publicly available resources.

Many organisations – academic, private and public – have published material that is useful in the realm of CSR & Sustainability.

Both, for the beginner as well as the seasoned practioners; leading brands as well as those that are taking their first strides to streamline their efforts. The pages listed hereafter summarise such publicly available resources.

Resources that support brands with regards to their efforts of legal compliance. Examples are: the REACh guideline; SIGNS – Sustainability, International Guide for Norms and Standards; or the AAFA Restricted Substance List.

Resources that support brands in the realm of environmental performance. Example are: GreenScreen; ZDHC Manufacturers Restricted Substance List; or the SAC Higg Index.

Resources that support brands to work on social aspects within their supply chains. Examples are: the FairWear Foundations social benchmarking guide; or the Handbook for Product Social Impact Assessment.

Product Design:
Resources that support designers and product developers within brands to tackle sustainability issues in collaboration with their colleagues in an integrated manner. Examples are: Chelsea College of Art and Design’s TEDs10; or The Future Fabrics Virtual Expo.

Reports that are of interest to those keeping an eye on global developments and industry trends.

REACh: Registration, Evaluation, Authorization of Chemicals

REACH is a European Union regulation concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals. It came into force on 1st June 2007 and replaced a number of European directives and regulations with a single system.

REACH has several aims:

  • To provide a high level of protection of human health and the environment from the use of chemicals.
  • To make the people who place chemicals on the market (manufacturers and importers) responsible for understanding and managing the risks associated with their use.
  • To allow the free movement of substances on the EU market.
  • To enhance innovation in and the competitiveness of the EU chemicals industry.
  • To promote the use of alternative methods for the assessment of the hazardous properties of substances e.g. quantitative structure-activity relationships (QSAR) and read across.

Further resources:


European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) Guidance documents

Guidance documents aim at facilitating the implementation of REACH, CLP and the biocides legislation by describing good practice on how to fulfil the obligations.
They are developed with the participation of many stakeholders: industry, Member States and NGOs.
SIGNS (Sustainability – International Guide for Norms and Standards)
An online web resource. The tool is designed to provide you with key information surrounding textile regulations and standards across Europe and beyond.

AAFA Restricted Substances List (RSL)

The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) regularly updates the AAFA Restricted Substances List (RSL), covering apparel, footwear, travel goods, home textiles, and other fashion accessories.

This RSL summarises substances that are legally restricted in any of the major production or consumption markets.
The RSL can be filtered, searched, and sorted by categories such as chemical name, CAS number, country, regulation, or any other identifying factor.

To view the RSL, visit the AAFA website or if you are using a mobile telephone or tablet.

Green Screen for Safer Chemicals
GreenScreen® for Safer Chemicals is a method for comparative Chemical Hazard Assessment (CHA) that can be used for identifying chemicals of high concern and safer alternatives. It is used by industry, government and NGOs to support product design and development, materials procurement, and as part of alternatives assessment to meet regulatory requirements. GreenScreen® can also be used to support environmentally preferable product procurement tools including standards, scorecards and eco-labels.

An introduction to the method is available through this webinar: Title: GreenScreen® for Safer Chemicals: Applications and New Developments http://www.greenscreenchemicals.org/resources/entry/greenscreen-for-safer-chemicals-applications

The GreenScreen® List Translator is an abbreviated version of the full GreenScreen® method that can be automated.  It is based only on the hazard lists that inform the GreenScreen®method.  The GreenScreen® List Translator maps authoritative and screening hazard lists, including GHS country classifications, to GreenScreen® hazard classifications.  It can quickly rule out known chemicals of concern and help to identify those chemicals that are best suited for a full GreenScreen® assessment.

How it Works

  • Enter a chemical name or CAS number and search against all of the list(s) in the GS List Translator to generate a report either in the form of a list (Pharos) or the GreenScreen® Hazard Table (GreenWERCS).
  • Generate a report of the hazard classification level (or range) assigned for each hazard endpoint based on the GreenScreen® List Translator
  • Quickly identify all of the hazards associated with GreenScreen® Specified Lists on which the chemical is found.
  • Generate the GreenScreen® List Translator Score for each chemical using the GreenScreen® Benchmarking
  • In some cases, a chemical may be found on multiple lists and the hazard classifications based on those lists may conflict. In such cases, the GS List Translator “Trumping Rules” apply. According to the trumping rules, in the case of conflicting results, authoritative lists trump screening lists; and when lists of equal authoritative or screening value conflict, then the more conservative value is used.

GreenScreen® Guidance and Method Documents are publicly available for free: http://www.greenscreenchemicals.org/method/greenscreen-list-translator

There are a number of initiatives that have published GreenScreens®. Some are available for free, others only commercially. For more details see: http://www.greenscreenchemicals.org/method/repositories-of-verified-and-unverified-assessments

GreenScreen® List Translator software is only commercially available, although some of the vendors offer very competitive rates.
AFIRM Supplier RSL Toolkit
AFIRM is a forum to advance the global management of restricted substances in apparel and footwear, communicate information about RSL to the supply chain, discuss concerns, and exchange ideas for improving RSL management.

The forum provides resources for sustainable, self-governing Restricted Substance List (RSL) implementation across the footwear and apparel supply chain. It is a collaborative effort by brands such as Asics, Nike, Pentland, Esprit, GAP and others.

Link to the toolkit: http://www.afirm-group.com/final toolkit copy/AFIRMToolkitOct08.doc
Substitute It Now (SIN) List
The SIN (Substitute It Now!) List is an NGO driven project to speed up the transition to a world free of hazardous chemicals.

The SIN List 2.1 consists of 626 chemicals that ChemSec has identified as substances of very high concern based on the criteria established by the EU chemical regulation, REACH. The chemicals on the SIN List are being used in everything from detergents and paints to computers and toys, sometimes in high levels. The SIN List is an important tool for speeding up the REACH legislative process and giving guidance to companies. It is based on a straightforward concept: substitute hazardous chemicals with safer alternatives. It’s ambition is to be a fast track to a toxic-free world.

SIN list: http://w3.chemsec.org/
ZDHC Manufacturers Restricted Substance List (MRSL)
The ZDHC MRSL will assist brands, their supply chains and the broader industry to adopt a harmonised approach to the control of hazardous substances used to process textile and trim materials in apparel and footwear. The MRSL should be communicated to raw material suppliers, including wet-processing facilities and sub-contractors and factories assembling or manufacturing garments and footwear.

Brands should make sure that material suppliers and factories will communicate with their chemical suppliers to ensure that the listed substances are not present in chemical formulations at a level that is above established limits.


Note: Natural leather and metal trim parts are excluded from the scope of this MRSL version.
Made-By wet processing standards comparison
Wet processing refers to the textile process where products are pre-treated, dyed, printed and finished through a liquid-based process. During these treatments, large quantities of water, energy and (hazardous) chemicals are consumed. There is a multitude of standards and systems available in the market but it is unclear for most fashion companies what the differences between them are and how they can be used to make improvements in their wet processing supply chains in the area of water, energy and chemicals use.

This overview has been developed as an objective guide, developed in collaboration with the managing bodies themselves, providing a practical and comparative overview that enables brands to determine which standards are most applicable in their supply chains.

Link: http://www.made-by.org/consultancy/tools/wet-processing-tool/
SAC Higg Index
The Higg Index, currently in version 2.0, is a suite of sustainability assessment tools that anyone can get started with right away.  These assessments, called modules, evaluate impacts through three different lenses: Facility, Brand, and Product. The Higg Index is primarily an indicator based assessment tool for apparel and footwear products.  The index asks practice-based, qualitative questions to gauge environmental sustainability performance and drive behaviour for improvement.

All Higg Index content is open-source: free and available to the public.  Non-members, including the general public, may access Higg Index 1.0 and 2.0 content in Excel for free by downloading them here: http://www.apparelcoalition.org/access/
Made-By Environmental Benchmark for Fibres
With the aim of guiding designers and production managers to choose sustainable alternatives to materials currently widely used, MADE-BY has created a benchmark that compares the environmental impact of the most commonly used fibres in the garment manufacturing industry. By looking at the production process of natural and man-made fibres and what human and environmental impact they have, MADE-BY has ranked 28 fibres into five classifications based on six parameters. This benchmark is updated on an annual basis in order to keep up-to-date with the latest developments and technologies in the market.

Consult the benchmark and download the research summary it is based upon: http://www.made-by.org/consultancy/tools/environmental/
Leather Working Group (LWG)
The objective of this multi-stakeholder group is to develop and maintain a protocol that assesses the environmental compliance and performance capabilities of tanners and promotes sustainable and appropriate environmental business practices within the leather industry. The group seeks to improve the tanning industry by creating alignment on environmental priorities, bringing visibility to best practices and providing suggested guidelines for continual improvement.

The group has published the following resources:

Made-By Wet Processing Benchmark:
The MADE-BY Wet Processing Benchmark uses actual data to bring transparency and drive change. Using field data from factories around the world, it illustrates the sustainability of common wet processing techniques and applications in terms of water use, energy use, and potential chemical or safety hazards. Because many factors can vary during implementation, a range has been used to show actual efficiency as achieved by factories under real production circumstances. The techniques listed are not necessarily substitutes for one another; rather, this tool can help a company to understand its efficiency compared to industry averages. Further detail on the methodology and the assumptions can be found in the accompanying report.

Consult the benchmark, and download the research summary it is based upon: http://www.made-by.org/consultancy/tools/wet-processing-tool/.
Swedish Textile Water Initiative (STWI) – Guidelines for Sustainable Water Use in Textiles and Leather
The Sweden Textile Water Initiative (STWI) started in 2010 as a joint project between textile and leather retail companies in Sweden, together with Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI). In September 2014, STWI launched the second version of its guidelines for sustainable water use in textiles and leather manufacturing processes, as well as an upgraded short summary of these guidelines. The upgraded version incorporates tools to help factories, brands and other potential users of the guidelines apply them practically in their facilities and operations.

For more details, consult the STWI website here.

You can download the summary and the guidelines directly below:

Textile Exchange – Content Claim Standard (CCS)
The Content Claim Standard is a chain of custody standard that provides companies with a tool to verify that one or more specific input materials are in a final product. It requires that each organisation along the supply chain take sufficient steps to ensure that the integrity and identity of the input material is preserved. It does not validate any claims about a product beyond the amount of a specific material that is in it. The standard does not limit which type of input material may be claimed, and therefore has broad application potential.


Standards for ethical sourcing of duck and geese down
Two organisations have released standards that allow companies to ensure that the down in their products comes from ethically treated geese.

Textile Exchange – Responsible Down Standard (RDS):

NSF International – Global Traceable Down Standard (GTDS):

Textile Exchange – Standards for Recycled Materials
Recycled Claim Standard (RCS):

The RCS is as a chain of custody standard to track recycled raw materials through the supply chain. The standard was developed through work by the Materials Traceability Working Group, part of the OIA’s Sustainability Working Group. The RCS uses the chain of custody requirements of the Content Claim Standard (see above).

Global Reycling Standard V3.0 (GRS):

The desired effect of the GRS is to provide brands with a tool for more accurate labeling, to encourage innovation in the use of reclaimed materials, to establish more transparency in the supply chain, and to provide better information to consumers. The GRS uses the chain of custody requirements of the Content Claim Standard (see above).

Unlike the RCS, the GRS also encompasses environmental requirements.

Textile Exchange – Organic Content Standard (OCS)
The OCS relies on third-party verification to verify that a final product contains the accurate amount of a given organically grown material. It does not address the use of chemicals or any social or environmental aspects of production beyond the integrity of the organic material. The OCS uses the chain of custody requirements of the Content Claim Standard (see above).

Chelsea College of Art and Design, TED’s TEN
Since 1996, TED has been developing and refining a set of sustainable design strategies for textile and fashion designers. These strategies have emerged out of a need for a toolbox for designers to help them navigate the complexity of sustainability issues and to offer real ways for designing ‘better’.

The TEN emerged from a practice-based and collaborative approach over many years, and are perhaps best used when supporting teams in the design thinking process behind the creation of new prototypes which test potential solutions for a more sustainable industry.

The TEN have also been made into a series of short animated films, to help participants grasp the essential considerations for textile and fashion designers to embrace in their day-to-day practice.

TED’s TEN are also available as workshop cards:

Future Fabrics Virtual Expo
The Future Fabrics Virtual Expo is now an online research and sourcing platform, with increased search capability, and opportunity for direct contact with mills. It can link fabric buyers and designers with international mills, and enable constant access to sourcing and sustainability information about fabrics with a reduced environmental impact.

The fabrics are chosen according to 4 distinct dimensions (http://www.futurefabricsvirtualexpo.com/sustainability/). The criteria have been elaborated in collaboration with the Centre for Sustainable Fashion at the London College of Fashion.

  • Water
  • Waste
  • Energy
  • Biodiversity

Currently, the online database contains 400 sustainable fabrics sourced from more than 25 global mills. Each fabric is documented with pictures and a description of its sustainability credentials.
In addition, 1000 fabrics can be seen in the London based studio, which also can be booked for workshops and individual visits for brands.

The fabrics are searchable by categories from fibre type and price, to certification and provenance, and educational background information alongside each fabric makes it a valuable tool for both designers and buyers new to the area of sustainable textiles and materials, as well as those with established sustainable sourcing strategies.

The virtual expo represents a diverse overview of sustainable fabrics, from organic cotton denim, British wool, and sustainable denims, to linen and organic cotton blends, low impact leather, woven and knitted organic cotton qualities, as well as polyesters, polyamide and rayons. In addition, it features new fashion and product innovations from materials lab Materio.

The Future Fabrics Virtual Expo is owned and run by Switzerland based not-for-profit ‘The Sustainable Angle’ (http://www.thesustainableangle.org/)

The Virtual Expo can be accessed through the following link: http://www.futurefabricsvirtualexpo.com/  Access to the virtual expo is available for registered users only. A yearly membership is available for for GBP £45.

Natural Capital Coalition
The coalition has released two research reports that investigate the current state of natural capital accounting. They are available for download for free:

  • Valuing Natural Capital in Business: Towards a Harmonized Framework. This report outlines the Natural Capital Protocol project, provides a high level summary of the stock take results and a proposed straw man/draft outline for a unified natural capital accounting protocol for consultation. Download
  • Valuing natural capital for business: Taking Stock – Existing initiatives and applications is a compilation summarising existing initiatives to provide a baseline on the existing landscape. This is intended as a useful resource to demystify the growing volume of initiatives in this space, and covers: Download
    • Business engagement initiatives
    • Methodologies, tools and initiatives relevant to measuring, managing and valuing natural capital in business and investor decision making
    • Initiatives relevant to using natural capital valuation in business applications, e.g. strategy, management (at organisation or supply chain levels), reporting and disclosurePolicy initiatives that define natural capital accounting classifications, metrics and indicators that can inform future target setting and new market initiatives relevant to business.

Danish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Environmental Profit and Loss Accounts (E P&L) on the Danish textile industry.

Through the E P&L approach, the Danish EPA seeks to develop new ways of assessing the value chain of the Danish textile industry, which will support sustainable decision-making on three different levels. The analysis will contribute to the Danish EPA’s current work with the apparel industry and other relevant stakeholders in developing a more sustainable apparel sector. The ambition of this project is to explore new ways of aiding the sustainable decision-making process within the apparel industry and thereby adding to the already existing tools, such as the Higg Index.


Toxipedia – A Wikipedia on toxicologic topics
Toxipedia (http://www.toxipedia.org/) is a free toxicology encyclopedia offering articles and resources about toxic chemicals (such as pesticides and endocrine disruptors), health conditions, ethical considerations, the history of toxicology, laws and regulation, and more. Our goal is to provide scientific information in the context of history, society, and culture so that the public has the information needed to make sound choices that protect both human and environmental health.

Toxipedia is a project of the Institute of Neurotoxicology and Neurological Disorders. INND is a nonprofit organization that distributes scientific information about the health and environmental impacts of toxic chemicals.

Toxipedia specifically offers a free e-book ‘A Small Dose of Toxicology-The Health Effects of Common Chemicals’ that explains topics such as:

  • Solvents and Vapors
  • Persistent Environmental Contaminants
  • Endocrine Distruptors
  • Nanotoxicology / Nanotechnology
  • Ecotoxicology (Air, Water, Soil Polution)

all of which are of relevance specifically for the DWR discussion – to the general public to understand. Link: http://www.toxipedia.org/display/dose/A+Small+Dose+of+Toxicology.

Bank J. Safra Sarasin
Swiss Private Bank J. Safra Sarasin has published a report – from a sustainability perspective – on the opportunities and risks in the supply chains of textile and apparel companies. The authors, Philipp Mettler and Makiko Ashida, are both senior sustainability investment analysts, and have titled the report “Supply Chains in the Clothing Industry – A House of Cards?!”.

In their introduction, the authors write: “This report discusses the opportunities and risks facing textile and apparel companies in their procurement activities. In addition to the economic importance and organisational complexity of supply chains, the report also highlights trends and problem areas in the procurement process. Finally, it looks at the question of whether – and to what extent – sustainable procurement policies and potentially controversial aspects of the supply chain can have a positive or negative impact on enterprise value. Although environmental aspects are become increasingly important, the focus still tends to be on the social dimension at present.”

Forum for the Future – The Future Centre
Forum for the Future was founded in 1996 by three leading figures of the UK environment movement with a mission to accelerate change to a sustainable future. Particularly interesting is their ‘Futures’ work, where the organisation is focused on the future, improving decisions made today to secure a sustainable tomorrow. This strand of the forum’s work identifies future risks and opportunities to discover where to act for long-term success.

Below are the most interesting project outcomes:

How to market sustainability: A small list of guides by Futerra
’Selling the sizzle’ of sustainability to the consumer is – as most of you know – one of the major challenge our industry encounters. In that, we’re no different than many other industries, where product performance comes first, followed possibly by price. Futerra, a London based communications agency, has a good few guides available for download that help brands to tackle that challenge in a productive, pro-active way.

The most interesting/practical ones are as follows:

Also have a look at their Business Case Builder (http://business-case-builder.com).

The full list of guides and reports can be accessed through the following link: http://www.futerra.co.uk/work#filter=thought-leadership.

DeMontfort University – DWR Research
DeMontfort University students have done some fundamental groundwork on both the testing procedures for DWRs, as well as the consumer expectations towards treated garments.

The resulting insights can be downloaded in two reports:

The summary of the latter study was also presented at OutDoor 2014. The presentation PDF can be downloaded from: http://www.europeanoutdoorgroup.com/files/Quality_of_the_DWR_presentation.zip.

DWR report – consumer and brand perceptions
In 2015, the EOG supported a study into durable water repellent finishes (DWRs) undertaken by De Montfort University (School of Fashion and Textiles) in Leicester, UK. More information and material from this project is availabe here.

Building knowledge about PFCs
The EOG’s role is not to dictate policy in relation to issues such as the use of PFCs. However, we do endeavour to provide businesses operating in the outdoor industry with as much relevant insight as possible into the issues involved, so that they can make fully informed decisions. We asked three independent experts a series of questions and their responses can be found in the reports located here.

Fair Wear Foundation Brand Performance Check Guide
FWF’s Brand Performance Check is a tool to evaluate and report on the activities of the foundation’s affiliate members.  However, the guide is also available publicly for any company to use.  You can download it now in two formats – onscreen (http://www.fairwear.org/ul/cms/fck-uploaded/documents/PerformanceChecks/2014/FWFBrandPerformanceCheckGuideOnlineMay2014.pdf ) and printable book (http://www.fairwear.org/ul/cms/fck-uploaded/documents/PerformanceChecks/2014/FWFBrandPerformanceCheckGuidePrintMay2014.pdf)
Handbook for Product Social Impact Assessment
Through 2013, the ‘Roundtable for Product Social Metrics’ aimed to

  1. consolidate principles for product social sustainability assessment and harmonise approaches,
  2. align with other global initiatives and share with other companies and
  3. develop solutions for cross-cutting implementation issues.

The results of the first two phases of the Roundtable for Product Social Metrics are documented in this handbook, which proposes a practical methodology for organisations to assess the social impacts of products, building on existing standards at global level. In addition, given the Roundtable’s wish to achieve broader consensus and credibility, this document reflects the development process as well as the end results.

Download the ‘Handbook for Product Social Impact Assessment’: http://product-social-impact-assessment.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Handbook-for-Product-Social-Impact-Assessment.pdf.
OIA Social Responsibility Toolkit
Developed by the US Outdoor Industry Association, the toolkit is a guidebook with tools and resources ranging from basic to advanced, that can be adapted to suit any company or supplier to create and continuously improve their social responsibility programme, with the ultimate goal of improving working conditions and labor rights in the outdoor industry’s supply chains.

The toolkit is comprised of two documents:

  • The ‘main’ document, which is static, provides the background for each element and its relevance in a social responsibility programme.  It also outlines the implementation steps and options for incorporating that element into your programme.
  • The tools and resources appendix is a ‘live’ document, which expands upon the implementation steps, providing links to websites, research papers, and example templates and documents provided by companies.

The toolkit can be downloaded for free from: http://outdoorindustry.org/responsibility/social/toolkit.html.
Fair Wear Foundation (FWF) Wage Ladder Tool
The FWF Wage Ladder is an easy-to-use online tool that allows the wages paid at any factory to be compared against a range of wage benchmarks. The Wage Ladder generates a clear, easily understandable graphic that shows where a factory’s wages fall short in comparison to these benchmarks. Brands, suppliers and workers’ representatives can see how current wages compare to living wage estimates – and can begin negotiations on how to make improvements, moving wages ‘up the ladder’ in regular steps.

In November 2014, the Fair Wear Foundation launched the second generation of the wage ladder tool.

Fair Wage Foundation Living Wage Portal
The FWF Living Wage Portal is designed to be the ‘go to’ internet resource for living wage implementation. The content is focused on finding ways to overcome eight main roadblocks to living wages – ranging from the lack of clarity about the costs of higher wages to concerns about competition law.

The portal is designed for a wide range of users – brands, factories, unions, policymakers, NGOs, journalists and anyone else with a role to play in improving the welfare of the world’s garment workers. The website will feature a growing set of case studies of FWF members, guest blogs, and good practice examples from the foundation and from experts in its stakeholder network.

Made-By Benchmark for Social Standards
The Social Benchmark grades six leading international standards concerning labour and human rights in order of robustness (from Class A to Class C), allowing you to better understand the varying initiatives that monitor and certify social conditions at garment factories in your supply chain.

Made-By Labour Standards and Human Rights Risk Map
National protection for labour standards varies from country to country, with some governments having more established systems in place to safeguard workers’ rights and ensure that non-compliance issues are addressed. MADE-BY has commissioned leading business risk analysis organisation, Maplecroft, to develop a global ‘Labour and Human Rights Risk Map’. Maplecroft researches indexes, maps and analyses over 500 risks and issues affecting multinational companies, governments and NGOs.