Product Sustainability and Chemical Officer

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You know Next, but did you know we’re a FTSE-100 retail company employing over 43,000 people across the UK and Ireland. We’re the UK’s 2nd largest fashion retailer and for Childrenswear we’re the market leader. At the last count we have around 500 stores, plus Next Online and it’s now possible to buy online from over 70 countries around the world, so we’ve gone global!

This is a fantastic opportunity to join us as an experienced assistant working alongside the Product Legislation and Sustainable Development Manager for chemicals, leather and animal derived products. This role ensures NEXT is in compliance with all UK, European and global legislation in relation to restricted substances & chemicals as well as ensuring NEXT meets its environmental and responsible sourcing goals focusing on how we work with our supply chain to move towards using the most responsible and traceable raw materials and manage the climate related risks associated with the products we sell.


  • Expand the NEXT Textiles ZDHC (Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals) programme internally and externally across the NEXT supply chain to include leather tanneries, synthetic leather manufacturers and footwear suppliers.
  • Support the product teams to implement the sourcing requirements of the Responsible Sourcing Strategy across all required product categories with particular focus on animal derived products
  • Ensure the business is compliant with new and changes to existing chemical legislation which relate to Next products.
  • Ensure the business is in compliance with UK and EU REACH legislation, specifically in relation to imported Cosmetics, Bodycare, Fragrances, Candles and Home Fragrance products.
  • Research and track NGO (non-governmental organisation) activity on restricted substances and animal derived materials (Greenpeace, Changing Markets Foundation, Four Paws, WWF etc.)


  • Support line manager to expand and implement the NEXT ZDHC Textiles Programme into the Leather, Synthetic leather and Footwear sectors
  • Work directly with the Product teams to implement the Responsible Sourcing Strategy across selected product areas
  • Audit product claims relating to Responsible Sourcing Strategy, including monitoring to ensure claims are correctly verified to support reporting to targets
  • 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
  • Support the Technical teams internally and externally in the supply base in all aspects of restricted substance testing and compliance
  • 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.
  • 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 internal manuals for sourcing policies where required

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 literate in IT/word/excel/google – excellent written and numeracy skills, good excel skills, high level of attention to detail
  • 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)