Product Chemical and Sustainability Officer at Next

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We are looking for a Product Chemical and Sustainability Officer to join our team within the Product Legislation and Sustainable Development team at Next.


This is a fantastic opportunity to join us as an experienced assistant, where you will work alongside the Product Legislation and Sustainable Development Manager for chemicals, textiles, leather and animal derived products to ensure NEXT meets all its environmental and responsible sourcing goals, including:

  • Compliance with all UK, European and global legislation in relation to restricted substances & chemicals
  • Transitioning to using the most responsible and traceable raw materials
  • Managing the climate related risks associated with the products we sell

We are looking for someone who is inquisitive, confident and enjoys having multiple tasks running in tandem with varying timelines and levels of complexity.  Some basic (but not necessarily expert) chemical knowledge is needed and experience of ZDHC and working within a similar sustainability role is beneficial, but not essential.  You will also have excellent people skills and the ability to collate and interpret data as well as a real interest in product, fashion and environmental issues.

Specific Responsibilities of the Product Chemical and Sustainability Officer

ZDHC (Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals) Programme

  • Support line manager to expand and implement the NEXT Textiles ZDHC programme to include leather tanneries, synthetic leather manufacturers and footwear suppliers
  • Liaise internally with NEXT technology teams and externally with wet processors across the NEXT supply chain to support ZDHC implementation

Responsible Sourcing Strategy

  • Support the internal product teams and external supply chain to implement the sourcing requirements of the Responsible Sourcing Strategy across all required product categories with particular focus on animal derived textile fibres, leather and footwear
  • Support internal product teams with labelling and product claims relating to the NEXT Responsible Sourcing Strategy, including product monitoring to ensure claims are legal and correctly verified to support reporting to targets
  • Support internal product teams and external suppliers to trace supply chains from raw material to finished products and maintain the NEXT Supplier database for tracking and tracing Next fabric suppliers, printers, dye houses, leather tanneries, laundries, chemical suppliers and fibre manufacturers
  • Update/create NEXT manuals and sourcing policies where required
  • Research and track NGO (non-governmental organisation) activity on climate risks, animal derived fibres and materials and restricted substances (Greenpeace, Changing Markets Foundation, Four Paws, WWF, CDP – Water Security etc.)

Restricted Substances and Chemical Compliance

  • Ensure the business is compliant with all new and changes to existing UK and EU chemical legislation for all Next products including UK and EU REACH legislation, specifically in relation to imported Cosmetics, Bodycare, Fragrances, Candles and Home Fragrance products 
  • Follow the legislation process for any emerging or existing restricted substances in order to support the department in writing technical updates, and training any changes to the Technology teams internally and also externally within the supply base
  • Update NEXT Technical Manuals with changes to chemical legislation and support implementation with training where required
  • Conduct quarterly ‘Bill of Materials’’ roll ups of tonnages of chemicals imported in NEXT Cosmetics, Bodycare, Fragrances, Candles and Home Fragrance products and help with the REACH registration process for all relevant chemicals

Skills & Experience:

Essential Criteria:

  • Study or training in textile technology, leather or footwear technology or environmental management/sciences or sustainability to a minimum of degree level (or equivalent experience), including knowledge of the textile and/or leather and/or footwear industries, chemicals and the environmental impacts of the fashion industry
  • Ability to research and disseminate information on a diverse range of raw materials found in NEXT products
  • Highly IT literate – excellent written and numeracy skills, good excel/google sheets skills
  • Attention to detail and accuracy skills
  • Ability to perform a range of tasks at any one time and work to strict deadlines
  • Inquisitive and confident / enjoys researching and summarising information on unknown subjects
  • High level of interest in environmental and sustainability issues

 Desirable Criteria:

  • Experience within a textile / leather / footwear technical function within retail or related industry
  • Commercially aware with a good understanding of the textile / leather / footwear industry
  • Experience of the ZDHC Roadmap to Zero programme
  • Experience of textile or leather testing within a testing laboratory
  • Experience of writing and presenting training materials
  • Ability to travel internationally (when permitted)