SGS Offers Hazardous Substance Control (HSC) Workshops to Leather Producers
The logic is simple, if no restricted substance is used in the manufacturing process then the risk of restricted chemical ending up in the product or waste stream is greatly diminished. The possibility is not eliminated, for example chromium VI and formaldehyde can still occur, but it is significantly reduced. With the possibility of restricted substances appearing in the product or waste stream reduced, the risk of non-compliance is also reduced.
Leather and leather product manufacturers and retailers are increasingly promoting the assessment of input chemicals through the adoption of Manufacturing Restricted Substances Lists (MRSL); the tanning industry is already using Restricted Substances Lists (RSL). MRSLs allow the processing chemicals and auxiliaries, such as dyes, retannages and fatliquors, to be profiled to ensure conformance.
A considerable problem for brands and retailers is that tanneries often use local small suppliers, so, whilst third party assessment systems do exist, they may not be applicable to the tannery’s situation. Instead, it is better for the assessment mechanism to be within the tannery, so that they can consider every input chemical and be assured that they will meet the requirements of their buyers.
Experience from the textile and apparel sector has shown that often a knowledge gap exists in how to implement hazardous substance controls at the factory level. The most challenging part for businesses is the classification of risk associated with each chemical, because most factories are given insufficient information about each substance.
To overcome the knowledge gap in the textile sector, SGS created a compact and comprehensive training course to guide manufacturers through hazardous substance control (HSC). The course uses a combination of presentational approaches but with a strong emphasis on providing the students with practical tools they can use to implement the approach when they return to their factories. Each stage of the manufacturing process is covered, enabling individual factories to catalogue their chemical inventory and identify the means by which each chemical should be assessed for hazard level. Students leave the course able to introduce effective chemical control systems into their own settings.
While leather manufacturing differs greatly from textile manufacturing, from the perspective of HSC they are very similar. It is therefore possible to take the experience gained in the apparel and footwear sector and transpose it to the leather industry.
One approach that found approval from the apparel and footwear industry is the concept of chemical flow management (CFM). CFM focuses on the ‘flow’ or cascade of chemicals through a factory from input materials (e.g. processing chemicals, auxiliaries and raw/part processed leather), through processing, and into either the final product or a waste stream (aqueous, solid or air emission). By understanding the chemical components at each stage of the process, the stakeholder has greater traceability of their chemicals and has the opportunity for continuous improvement of chemical risk profiles.
Introduction of CFM should be systematic and must be conducted with full management support to allow suitable consideration of how it can be effectively integrated into standard working practices. The system relies on training, the right guidance materials, and appropriate toolkits to ensure it is implemented correctly and risk assessments are conducted properly.
Benefits for tanneries include a reduction in risk and increased chemical efficiency. Through the optimization of the chemical hazardous risk profile at the purchasing stage, the tannery can significantly reduce the use of many restricted substances and mitigate against environmental issues. The increased focus on input rather than output chemicals will also allow greater efficiencies to be created, cutting costs through a reduction in the amount of chemicals being discharged into the waste stream. This will also reduce effluent/waste treatment and disposal costs. Effective CFM will also create greater confidence in the tannery along the whole supply chain, resulting in their products becoming sought after by potential customers.
CFM is the practical solution to controlling hazardous substances in the leather industry. It is a proven system, which can be practically implemented in manufacturing situations, and will bring about tangible results in terms of benefits for both the organization and the environment.
SGS Hazardous Substance Control (HSC) Workshops
SGS’s HSC workshop imparts the right knowledge to help leather producers introduce and run effective CFM systems. With global brands and retailers increasingly focusing on chemical compliance, SGS provides companies with the right tools to remain compliant with relevant regulations and maintain competitive advantage. For more information on SGS Hazardous Substance Control Workshops: [www.sgs.com/en/consumer-goods-retail/softlines-and-accessories/textile-and-clothing/zero-discharge-holistic-solution/hazardous-substance-control-workshop]
For more information, please contact:
SGS Global Softlines
Tel: +852 22048350
SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 95,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 2,400 offices and laboratories around the world.
1, Mons Calpe
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