Chemicals Management

We manage and strive to minimize the use of potentially harmful chemicals in our products. For example, our Restricted Substances List (RSL) designates chemicals that should be minimized or avoided in our apparel and accessories in compliance with government legislation or regulation, health and safety concerns, or potential environmental hazards.
Restricted Substances
Our RSL, which we benchmark against the standards established by the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) and the Apparel and Footwear International RSL Management (AFIRM), was most recently updated in June 2022 and distributed to Tier 1 apparel suppliers. We also distribute it to our licensees, who are held accountable for meeting our standards and local laws.
We test products to our proprietary protocols, which include chemical, safety, and quality protocols aligned with international, federal, and state regulations as well as various industry standards. If a product fails our initial testing, we evaluate whether the issue can be remedied or if the product should be destroyed and the order canceled.
As of March 2022, our RSL testing was based on the percentage of a vendor’s styles that were not OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100 certified, a leading standard for testing textiles for harmful substances. In fiscal 2022, we saw a 100% passing rate on the 193 styles tested.
chem manag bk.png
Chemicals Management Timeline
ZDHC Adoption
To further extend our commitment to product safety, we are in the process of aligning with the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (MRSL).
The ZDHC MRSL goes beyond the traditional approaches to chemical restrictions (which only apply to finished products) by helping also protect employees, local communities, and the environment from the potential impacts of harmful chemicals during manufacturing.
In 2022, we surveyed our mills and laundries and benchmarked against industry MRSL programs. In February 2023, we notified our vendors of our roadmap for MRSL implementation. Based on our 2022 mill volume, more than 38% of our fabric is processed in alignment with the ZDHC MRSL.
We are striving to have 80% of our fabric volume mills and 80% of our laundry facilities engaged with the MRSL by the end of 2025.
Addressing PFAS in Our Products
We monitor proposed federal and state laws and regulations on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), and we do not intentionally add PFAS to our apparel products per our RSL. As a proactive measure, our existing protocols call for PFAS testing on any product with claims to water resistance or stain resistance. In June 2023, we will update our protocols to test PFAS as measured by total organic fluorine. We work with our supply chain to reduce any trace elements found. We are also expanding the scope of product categories we test, regardless of whether they claim to be water- or stain-resistant.
99% of our supplier facilities are OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100 Certified.
OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100 Certification
The quality of our products is additionally ensured by evaluating and committing to third-party certifications. We proudly use the OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100 certification label, one of the world's best-known labels for textiles tested for harmful substances. Our intention is for Carter’s and OshKosh playwear products and most apparel across our brands to be OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100 Certified by the end of fiscal year 2023. As of end of fiscal 2022, we achieved approximately 73% of this goal for products within its scope, including much of our 0-24 months baby apparel and sleepwear.