A new sustainability standard for the textile industry, NSF/ANSI 336 aims to make the specification of sustainable textiles easy. The following is a short Q&A to help explain this further.
It is a voluntary standard for assessing the environmental impacts of textile manufacturing based on fiber selection, safety or chemicals, water conservation, water (effluent) quality, energy usage, air quality, recycling practices, and social accountability. It is geared specifically to the office, hospitality, healthcare, and institutional furniture markets.
The standard was created by NSF International in conjunction with a group of stakeholders including fabric manufacturers and distributors along with other interested parties. By putting products through this assessment, the hope is to drive up market demand for sustainable textiles products, simplify the selection process for specifiers and encourage broad participation to maximize the positive impact on the environment.
Depending on its point total, the product can be classified as Compliant, Silver, Gold, or Platinum. The standard digs very deeply into the textile supply chain – without the participation of suppliers or knowing the environmental impacts of the processes that take place beyond the fabric manufacturer’s walls, the overall assessment of how making a yard of fabric affects the Earth’s environment would not be possible. We’re all in this together!
It is a very holistic look at production from the raw materials used to the finished product. A few examples of what is measured are the toxicity of raw materials to water usage, energy, recycling practices, and whether or not there are issues with child or forced labor at any point in the supply chain.
As with all ANSI standards, organizations that choose to assess their products with this standard may achieve first-party, second-party or third-party conformance.
- First-party (self-declaration) assessment is performed by the person or organization that provides the product.
- Second-party assessment is performed by the person or organization that has a user or purchaser interested in the product.
- Third-party assessment is performed by a person or body that is independent of the person or organization that provides the product, and of the use or purchaser interested in that product.
True Textiles is in the process of having our proprietary and open line fabrics third-party certified. Please refer to our latest press release here for more information.