OEKO-TEX®: New Regulations 2021

Ecology and Environment

``More transparency towards a more sustainable and measurable future`` is the guiding principle behind OEKO-TEX®'s commitment to a responsible approach by companies and consumers in the world of textiles and leather. This approach is above all the basis for the required tests and certification processes in the OEKO-TEX® standards which guarantee safety and sustainability for companies in the supply chain involved in the production of textile and leather goods as well as for consumers.

At the beginning of the year the OEKO-TEX® Association updates the test criteria, limit values and applicable requirements for its range of certifications and labels as usual. All new regulations will come into force, after a transition period, on 1 April 2021.
“OEKO-TEX® aims to provide customers and partners with measurable, state-of-the-art certifications. For this reason, the test criteria in the OEKO-TEX® standards are updated at least once a year based on new scientific information or legal requirements. A special project in 2021 will be the integration of the environmental footprint (carbon and water footprint) into the MADE IN GREEN label”.
The following is an overview of the most important changes and innovations.


Recycled materials in STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX®
In times of climate change and the depletion of raw materials there is an increasing demand for fashion and textile products made from recycled materials. OEKO-TEX® has developed an approach to integrate recycled materials for greater sustainability in the STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX®.
This uniform approach requires a minimum amount (20%) of recycled material in an article, different test programmes depending on the origin of the material and the definition of the necessary basic information. A hangtag informs consumers about recycling from a circular economy perspective. Recycled materials are difficult to certify since with their previous life cycle, they offer different challenges than “virgin” material. For this reason they are treated differently within the STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® and receive a special mention in the scope of the certificate.



– Chromium and metal-free tanned leather
As part of the LEATHER STANDARD by OEKO-TEX® the OEKO-TEX® partner institutes will in future also certify chrome and metal free tanned leather. These natural products are tested for tanning metals with different limit values and receive a special mention as part of the certificate.


The sustainable label for textiles and leather goods MADE IN GREEN by OEKO-TEX® is the fastest growing OEKO-TEX® product. Compared to the previous year the number of valid labels has increased by 267 percent from 1093 to 4010 (as of 31/12/2020).

OEKO-TEX®’s goal for 2021 is the systematic integration of the environmental footprint (carbon and water footprint) in the MADE IN GREEN label. This will enable consumers to find out directly, by scanning the label of each product, what impact the production of each item has on our ecosystem. In order to assess the feasibility and examine how the environmental footprint can be incorporated as an integral part of its portfolio, OEKO-TEX® launched a pilot project at the end of 2019. The intention is to guide consumers towards products with transparent information about their supply chain and made with environmentally friendly technologies.


Virtual audits
OEKO-TEX® introduced virtual assessment of production sites due to travel and contact restrictions imposed by COVID-19. This applies to STANDARD 100 and LEATHER STANDARD by OEKO-TEX® as well as the virtual audits for STeP and ECO PASSPORT certifications.


New and updated limit values
Per- and polyfluorinated alkyl compounds (PFAS) are industrial chemicals which are mainly used in the treatment of coated fabrics for outdoor clothing, for example. Based on a recent risk assessment by the EU, OEKO-TEX® has also changed the limit values for PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and salts as well as PFOA-related substances. In ECO PASSPORT by OEKO-TEX® titanium dioxide (TiO2) has been added to the CAS number screening for respirable dusts.
In this context, STeP by OEKO-TEX® MRSL has also been extended to include titanium dioxide (TiO2) for respirable dusts. OEKO-TEX® was part of a ZHDC team that recently published the first ZDHC white paper on air emissions. As part of the harmonization process, OEKO-TEX® tightened the sulfur dioxide (SO2) limits for air emissions from solid and liquid fuels as part of STeP by OEKO-TEX®. Overall, stringent requirements for residues in textile materials also lead to less impact on the environment, workers and consumers.


New substances under observation
Furthermore in 2021 OEKO-TEX® will monitor various substances based on the latest scientific findings and compliance with the relevant specifications. These are mainly substances that have recently been classified as SVHC and have been identified as particularly hazardous according to the REACH regulation for the protection of human health and the environment. These include diisocyanates, which can trigger allergic reactions through skin contact and inhalation. The chemical compounds dibutyltin bis(acetylacetonate), 2-methylimidazole and 1-vinylimidazole will also be closely examined in the future.

For information contact:
– STANDARD 100, LEATHER STANDARD and ECOPASSPORT: Chiara Salmoiraghi – chiara.salmoiraghi@centrocot.it
– STeP: Stefania Dal Corso – stefania.dalcorso@centrocot.it
– MADE IN GREEN: Patrizia Lombardini – patrizia.lombardini@centrocot.it


Author: Editorial staff