TÜV SÜD Specialists worked together with the American footwear industry’s business and trade association Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA) to develop a website with comprehensive regulative information. http://globalfootweartesting.com/ houses FDRA's guide to chemical and physical footwear testing requirements – allowing compliance professionals to click on specific chemicals or jurisdictions to get clear insights on legal requirements for several countries and regions. It also has a catalogue of global testing laws, making this a one-stop shop on footwear testing issues.
“This website assists footwear companies in understanding and complying with the chemical and physical requirements for the United States, the European Union, Japan, Korea and China”, explains Kapil Bansal, Senior Vice President Consumer Products of TÜV SÜD Product Service. TÜV SÜD’s part was to provide the base technical guidance on what needs to be tested for entering these selected countries. This includes a chemical Restricted Substances List (RSL) and physical testing recommendations specific to footwear.
“New materials and new markets are making it more difficult to manage footwear compliance programs. This new product safety portal really is a one-stop shop that provides nearly everything a compliance team needs to understand global requirements for footwear, providing clarity and a better risk based approach to managing chemicals in supply chains,” said FDRA Senior Vice President Andy Polk. “To date, we’ve heard it’s been a great tool and resource for both global footwear companies as well as smaller family owned footwear businesses. FDRA membership is needed to access and use this site. For information about FDRA please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Global network of experts and laboratories
TÜV SÜD has a global network of roughly 30 testing laboratories for leather and textiles. The services offered comprise physical tests as well as chemical analyses. In addition to product testing, TÜV SÜD's experts carry out pre-shipment inspections on site in factories and offer auditing and certification in accordance with all major national and international standards. “By offering these services, TÜV SÜD supports manufacturers and exporters in meeting the quality and safety standards of all major markets and assists purchasing agents in global sourcing activities. Many of these information FDRA members find within the web-based database”, explains Kapil Bansal.
Increasing awareness of quality and sustainability
The footwear industry produces around 23 billion pairs of shoes each year, spanning all styles from high heels to sneakers and functional work boots, and involving a wide range of materials including leather, rope, textiles or synthetics. Frequently, these materials have been treated with chemicals that can be hazardous to health. However, as consumer awareness of product quality, safety and sustainability rises, jurisdictions are increasingly restricting the use of potentially hazardous materials. The shoe industry must comply with complex requirements, including the European Chemical Regulation, REACH, and the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) in the USA.
The TÜV SÜD Footwear Mark documents quality awareness
TÜV SÜD's Footwear Mark covers extensive chemical analyses of the shoes produced and factory inspection carried out by auditors. After issue of the certificate, which documents compliance with international standards and legal requirements, TÜV SÜD will carry out annual factory inspections, complemented by market surveillance to ensure the products continue to meet the requirements of the certification mark.
Interested readers can find further information on the TÜV SÜD Footwear Mark at www.tuv-sud.com/footwearmark or http://globalfootweartesting.com/.
Note for editors: The high-resolution photo can be downloaded here or from the "Media Photos" category at www.tuv-sud.com/pressphotos.
Caption: TÜV SÜD-Specialists are preparing shoes for chemical testing.
Press-contact: Heidi Atzler