Regulations and initiatives change as rapidly as trends in this industry, especially with regard to substances that harm humans or the environment. Companies are required to constantly monitor and implement these changes in complicated chemical management systems. Brands and retailers often enforce their own restricted substance lists.
ECO PASSPORT by OEKO-TEX® is an independent and standardized testing and certification system for chemicals, colorants and auxiliaries used to manufacture textiles and leather. The process verifies that chemical products and their ingredients meet specific requirements for safety, sustainability and regulatory compliance.
The ECO PASSPORT Restricted Substance List (RSL) combines substances restricted through ECO PASSPORT, STANDARD 100, LEATHER STANDARD and STeP, integrating seamlessly with downstream OEKO-TEX® certifications.
- Gives textile and leather manufacturers a trustworthy solution for responsibly sourcing independently verified chemicals that are safer for human ecology and the environment.
- Promotes certified chemicals via the OEKO-TEX® Buying Guide - a free, online sourcing tool accessed >250,000 times/year
- Provides chemical managers reliable control over substances before entering production
- 3rd party certification protects confidential product data while providing transparency that market demands.
- Builds feedback into the process so improvements can be implemented at each stage to avoid extra analysis costs
- Integrates seamlessly into the OEKO-TEX® modular system and downstream certifications (STeP for environmentally friendly production facilities, STANDANDARD 100 and LEATHER STANDARD for safer products)
- Ensures compliance with legal requirements, ZDHC levels 1-3, REACH SVHC list, GoBlu/BHive, Foursource and other industry initiatives
- RSL/MRSL Check
Transparent process to screen for chemicals of concern via cost-effective CAS number comparison - Chemical ingredients are compared with the OEKO-TEX® list of harmful chemicals (~1500 chemicals we are striving to keep out of the supply chain).
- Analytical Testing
Analytical verification in our labs to ensure chemicals can be used for the sustainable production of textile or leather products that are safe for human ecology. Testing ensures the certified chemicals do not contain unwanted impurities and side products (wrong solvents, metals, surfactants, etc.)
- Formulation is certified at the minimal level with the option to continue to higher levels -
- Self Assessment (Optional)
Review of the chemical manufacturer's responsible systems relating to environmental & quality management, health & safety, social responsibility
- On-Site Visit (Optional)
Control at chemical supplier facility to check product stewardship system
Option 1 allows ZDHC Gateway listing at level 1.
Option 2 adds a self assessment and qualifies for ZDHC Gateway listing at level 2.
Option 3 adds a product stewardship on-site visit and qualifies for ZDHC Gateway listing at level 3.
- Any manufacturer of textile or leather chemicals can apply for ECO PASSPORT certification. ECO PASSPORT is suitable for all chemical products (chemicals, colorants and auxiliaries) - and their formulations - that are used in the textile, leather, apparel, footwear, home textiles or similar sectors.
- Wholesalers and resellers of chemicals can also apply for a certificate in their own name for products already covered by the chemical manufacturer's certificate and no additional changes to the composition have been made.
If no manufacturer's certificate is available, it is possible for distributors and retailers to apply for a limited certification. This temporary certification may only be renewed once for a maximum certificate validity of two years total. (Annual certificate renewal for chemical manufacturers is not limited).
- Substances 'certified without restrictions' fulfill the requirements of downstream certifications, such as STANDARD 100 and LEATHER STANDARD. Only products 'certified with no restrictions' are eligible for listinig in the ZDHC Gateway.
- Any substances that are 'certified with restrictions' are mentioned on the ECO PASSPORT certificate so that they can be tested again during a downstream certification process.
We recognize that chemical formulations and bills of substances (BoS) are highly guarded intellectual property. The information provided is encrypted and stored by the certifying institute and OEKO-TEX®. No recipes are publicly shared anywhere.
- 100% disclosure of your formulation is not mandatory
- The more you can disclose about your formulation, the easier the process of certification
- Greater disclosure reduces your testing costs
- Confidentiality is built into the system, but we are happy to sign an additional non-disclosure agreement (NDA)
- To protect the lab teams during handling, OEKO-TEX® requires the disclosure of all constituent substances and known contaminants/by-products that are regulated by OEKO-TEX® or classified as hazardous by GHS or article 57 of the REACH regulation 1907/2006
An ECO PASSPORT certificate is valid for one year.
By signing the declaration of conformity in the application, the applicant authorizes the OEKO-TEX® Association to perform control tests on its certified products during the period that certificate is valid. You can apply to renew the certificate up to three months before it expires.
The product label can be used for marketing communications specific to the certified chemical.
The label and claim are NOT intended for identifying certified ingredients of another product. For example, this type of statement is not allowed: "the chemicals in this [fabric] are ECO PASSPORT certified".
For purchasing, the label is not sufficient proof of successful testing. Buyers should always require the supplier to submit a valid OEKO-TEX® certificate. The details on the ECO PASSPORT label (test number and test institute) must correspond to those on the certificate and the product must be included in the certificate scope.
The on-site visit verifies that the manufacturer has systems in place for environmental management, health and safety, quality management and social responsibility. It is currently optional for ECO PASSPORT by OEKO-TEX® but required for ZDHC Level 3 integration.
Product stewardship checks:
- Certificates for environmental management system
- Documentation on wastewater treatment and waste handling
- Commitments to worker health and safety (training records)