Objective, Acceptance Criteria, Review Process, and Other Important Details


In 2011, the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals Programme (ZDHC Programme) was formed to reduce and eliminate the discharge of hazardous chemicals for all products and all pathways in their supply chains. The purpose of ZDHC Foundation is to promote, govern and oversee the implementation of programmes, projects and activities for the widespread implementation of sustainable chemistry and best practices in the textile, apparel and footwear industries.

The ZDHC Programme recognises the value of addressing hazardous substances that may be discharged into the environment during the manufacture of materials used in the textile, leather and footwear industry. The discharge of wastewater containing hazardous chemicals can have a significant impact on the environment and human health. Through the ZDHC Wastewater Programme, the ZDHC Foundation developed and published ZDHC Wastewater Guidelines a harmonised set of wastewater parameters, limit values and test methods, which will ensure brands and suppliers are working to the same set of expectations.

In order to support the ZDHC Foundation purpose and the ZDHC Wastewater Programme, ZDHC Foundation has developed ZDHC Gateway Laboratory Acceptance Programme - Wastewater Guidelines.


Laboratories used for wastewater and sludge analysis for the purposes of submitting data on behalf of the suppliers (manufacturing facilities) in the ZDHC Gateway - Wastewater Module, must be provisionally accepted by ZDHC. This is to ensure a consistent level of quality for the test data submitted. ZDHC acceptance means that the laboratory has the personnel, equipment and processes in place to analyse wastewater and sludge samples, but it does NOT give any assurance that for any given sample the data are acceptable. That can only be assured by examination of the associated quality control samples.

The ZDHC Gateway – Wastewater Module is a global web-based platform that is designed to share verified wastewater and sludge test data based on testing against the ZDHC Wastewater Guidelines. It will provide suppliers (manufacturing facilities) with an easy way to disclose wastewater data with their clients (brands/retailers), rather than responding to clients’ requests one by one, with the assurance that their data is secure.
This page describes the criteria, process and procedure to grant provisional acceptance to laboratories that are analysing wastewater and sludge samples associated with the ZDHC Wastewater Guidelines. This provisional process will be amended on a later stage based on the work of the laboratory advisory group and development of harmonised data quality objectives by the laboratories.

1. The laboratory fills out this online application form, including reporting limits and method detection limits for each of the parameters. The laboratory also needs to attach a copy of all relevant certifications and any supporting documents they wish to include to this online form.

2. At the end of this online form, the laboratory is asked to complete the application by clicking the submit button.

3. The laboratory settles the payment for the application fee (see Section I below).

4. ZDHC reviews the information submitted by the laboratory. This review may involve follow up emails, conference calls or in-person meetings with the laboratory to request for additional information, such as quality assurance manuals.

4. a. If a provisional acceptance status is granted by the ZDHC, the laboratory will be requested to (1) settle the payment for the acceptance fee (see Section I below), and (2) to sign a confirmation letter. Once acceptance fee is settled and the letter is signed, ZDHC will officially announce the provisional acceptance status of the laboratory.
4. b. If ZDHC did not grant an acceptance, ZDHC will submit to the laboratory corrective actions required that would help them on the path to ZDHC acceptance.

5. ADEC* will create a profile for each ZDHC Provisionally Accepted Laboratory in the ZDHC Gateway – Wastewater Module. Once the laboratory profile is created, the accepted laboratory could start the data submission process. (*ADEC is the technology service provider who supports the development and maintenance of the ZDHC Gateway platform).


1.      Conventional Wastewater and Sludge Parameters
  • Accreditation according to ISO 17025 is required for at least 50% of the required testing methods.
  • For test methods that are not accredited the laboratory should show capability by participation in a correlation test or by submitting relevant validation data.
2.      ZDHC MRSL Parameters in Wastewater and Sludge
  • Accreditation according to ISO 17025 is required. 
  • Laboratory should have the ZDHC MRSL parameters accredited (mentioned in the certificate) disregarding the matrix (so it could be in textiles).
  • Self-declaration of experience testing the ZDHC MRSL parameters in wastewater and sludge.
  • Self-declaration to follow the harmonized ZDHC SOP for the ZDHC parameters.
  • Submitting validation data and QC data on demand.
  • Participation in commercially available correlation tests.

We understand some laboratories do not have the capability to test all the parameters indicated in the ZDHC Wastewater Guidelines. Here is the basic principle in case you need to subcontract the testing for some of the parameters.

The primary laboratory is the one that is responsible and held accountable for:
1.   Completing and submitting the laboratory acceptance application, and 
2.  Making sure all the acceptance criteria and requirements are met and fulfilled by both the primary laboratory and its subcontracted laboratory(s).

The primary laboratory is the one who is responsible to collect and submit the complete wastewater and sludge test data in the ZDHC Gateway - Wastewater Module.  

The list of parameters to be analysed and reporting limits are provided in the ZDHC Wastewater Guidelines which is available publicly on the ZDHC website - click here


ZDHC is in the process of developing a set of requirements for electronic data reporting. This is to ensure the quality and integrity of test data registered in the ZDHC Gateway platform. The accepted laboratories will be engaged once it is ready. 

  • The application and acceptance process is to be completed on a laboratory facility level (instead of on laboratory company group level), and therefore a ZDHC provisional acceptance status will be granted on a laboratory facility level.
  • The ZDHC Laboratory Provisional Acceptance status is valid for a period of one (1) year from the date of acceptance.


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* With activation of this box I accept the terms & conditions layed out in this application and confirm that I have read the above carefully that outlines the process and procedures of this application