April 19, 2019
Textile and fashion industries are under pressure from NGOs and final consumers to minimize the impact of their production and distribution on the environment and reduce the effect of pollution on water, air and soil quality, and improve on sustainability initiatives.
Governmental authorities have developed laws and regulations to guide and govern good environmental practices and companies are increasingly making efforts to proactively manage environmental compliance to protect workers, consumers and the environment.
A proper environmental audit program can enhance a company's environmental performance.
Environmental audits provide an excellent means for companies to measure their environmental impact and highlight important information and insights for management teams to make informed decisions. Management can identify opportunities for improvement and implement an effective program to improve environmental performance.
UL’s environmental responsibility services and tools help companies to identify potential issues within their supply chain and determine their root causes. We review the environmental aspects of workplace assessments including wastewater, land use and biodiversity, air emissions, and environmental health and safety.
Our environmental assessments are based on the Global Social Compliance Program (GSCP and we have expanded this offering in addition to our chemical management auditing services in collaboration with amfori’s BEPI. We are approved as an amfori BEPI assessor to conduct both amfori’s BEPI environmental assessments and chemicals management audits.
What do amfori BEPI audits assess?
amfori BEPI is a business-driven product provided by amfori for retailers, importers and brands committed to improving environmental performance in supplying factories and farms worldwide. amfori BEPI provides a practical framework that can support all product sectors in all countries to reduce their environmental impact, business risks and costs through improved environmental practices.
There are two types of BEPI audits:
- amfori BEPI Environmental Assessment assesses four most relevant environmental areas for the producer site, plus Environmental Management System.
- amfori BEPI Chemical Management Audit follows the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) audit protocol and currently only applies to the textile and footwear industry. The audit protocol covers chemical management system, health and safety, environment permits and legal requirements, Emission.
UL is able to provide amfori BEPI assessments and audits in China and Bangladesh with recognized assessors/auditors for both BEPI environmental and chemical management audits.
Textile and leather companies can self-assess their environmental performance
Companies in the field of textile and footwear can also have the possibility to self-assess their environmental performances. One method is the use of the Higg Facility Environment Module (Higg FEM).
The Environmental Module is part of the Higg Index, developed by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) and available on Higg.org. It includes a suite of tools that enables brands and retailers to measure and score a company or product’s sustainability performance.
With the Higg Facility Environment Module, manufacturers can assess their own environment performance, and the results can be shared with interested parties. Both SAC member manufacturers and non-member manufacturers can access this tool.
We can support businesses with seminars and webinars to provide training and education on the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), the Higg FEM, the basic Higg verification process and provide guidance on how to complete the self-assessment with accuracy and efficiency.
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Author of the article:
Senior Engineer, Global Environmental Audit expert — UL
Peter is an environmental expert with over 11 years’ experience, having worked in a municipal sewage treatment plant, an ICT industry and Brand factory, prior to joining UL in 2012, as Senior Engineer. Within UL, his main responsibility is to increase auditors’ technical capacity within the field of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS): he has conducted 15 EHS trainings of UL’s team and also developed different environment programs to help brands improve their supply chain environmental performances. Peter has a Bachelor of Environmental Engineering from Hunan University.