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Mr. Ayyappan AKS

Mr. Ayyappan AKS

Achiever's Success Story

Sustainable Product Safety in the Apparel Industry

Ayyappan AKS, the Global Technical Director of Softlines & Hardlines at Intertek, is a visionary product stewardship professional with over 25 years of experience in ensuring the safety of apparel, leather, and footwear products. His remarkable career has been dedicated to sustainable product design, chemical management, and compliance with global environmental, health, and safety (EHS) regulations.

Ayyappan’s expertise has been honed through key roles, including:

  • Global Technical Director, Softlines & Hardlines at Intertek (2023 – Present): Leading strategic initiatives for product safety and compliance.
  • Global Product Safety Head at Levi Strauss (2015 – 2023): Pioneering the ‘Product Safety by Design Framework,’ ensuring 100% compliance with global regulations.
  • Senior Manager, Operations Product Compliance at Amazon (2014 – 2015): Overseeing product compliance operations.
  • Senior Manager, Lab Operations Product Stewardship & Environmental Health & Safety Regulatory Affairs at 3M India (2007 – 2014): Managing product stewardship and environmental health and safety.
  • Technical Executive at 3M India (2006 – 2008): Early career responsibilities in technical executive roles.

Ayyappan’s groundbreaking achievement lies in the development and implementation of the ‘Product Safety by Design Framework’ during his tenure at Levi Strauss. This pioneering initiative identifies and eliminates chemical hazards in the early stages of product development, ensuring that Levi’s products are not only safe for consumers but also environmentally sustainable.

This framework, successfully implemented across a global supply chain covering more than 200 suppliers in over 40 countries, has achieved 100% compliance with regulations such as EU REACH, California Prop65, and others. Ayyappan’s emphasis on phasing out priority chemicals and addressing emerging concerns has set a new standard for the industry.

Ayyappan’s work has not only elevated Levi’s product safety performance but has also contributed significantly to the company’s sustainability goals. The framework has garnered recognition as a best practice from NGOs, regulators, customers, and peers alike. Ayyappan AKS stands as a trailblazer, making the apparel industry safer, more sustainable, and a beacon of best practices.

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