What does it mean that the standard will be released, effective and mandatory? 

The final version is planned for release in early 2024, to be used for pilot testing and implementation planning. Throughout the year 2024, we will conduct a full internal systems update to align with the new standard, as well as provide the necessary implementation planning for all stakeholders in the system (e.g., taking adequate time to align across our assurance system, the accreditation and certification bodies’ systems, and for sites to prepare their operations to get certified). We will also update pre-existing documents to reflect the harmonized standards system. 2025 is the estimated effective date of the unified standard, meaning any organization can choose to be certified to the unified standard for the first time, or for already certified organizations to choose to be audited against the unified standard during their SC renewal. During this time, the current suite of standards (i.e., GRS, RCS, RDS, RWS, RMS, and RAS) will exist in parallel with the unified standard. In 2026, it will be mandatory to certify to the unified standard and all organizations must be in conformance with the unified standard going forward. Some of the current Textile Exchange standards will be phased out.