Certification: making sense of fabric labels – Part 2

In my last blog – Certification: making sense of fabric labels Part 1 – I gave GOTS, OE 100 and Oeko-Tex Standard 100 a thumbs-up. If you see any of these on a label, it’s sustainable. But that’s not the whole story. You should also be able to trust any of the following:

Bluesign is an example of a wider standard which covers the entire supply chain. Any company or product awarded Bluesign Certification must show compliance with five sustainability principles. https://www.bluesign.com/en

Another stamp of approval I look for is Naturtextil Best, which ticks the boxes by assessing environmental and social criteria throughout textile industry supply chains. Accreditation means that only 100% certified organic fibres have been used; processing procedures (like bleaching or chlorination) have been restricted, hazardous substances such as formaldehyde, PCP or heavy metals have been avoided; and tests on the final product have been concluded satisfactorily. In addition, the UN’s International Labour Organisation’s conventions have been adopted and living wages paid. http://www.ecolabelindex.com/ecolabel/naturtextil

Anyone buying a rug or carpet should look out for Goodweave certification. This tells you that children were not exploited in making the product. : https://goodweave.org

If you are going to use cotton, look for made-by.org. This tells you that environmental responsibility and fair working practices have been checked out and that only organic cotton is being used. http://www.made-by.org

Also among the good guys is SAAS, who evaluate auditing organisations, to make sure they hold their clients accountable for social and labour standards. http://www.saasaccreditation.org  For anyone who wants organic-only products, ‘OCS’ is the label to look for. Organic Content Standard certification verifies that organic standards have been met every step of the way. https://www.soilassociation.org/certification/fashion-textiles

Let’s pull back now to look at the bigger picture. If you see that a business is a ‘B-Corp’, this means it has committed to a new way of doing business, serving society and the environment rather than just shareholders. Personally, I’d trust any B Corporation to have its heart in the right place. https://bcorporation.net

Another useful guide is Sourcemap. They run an online platform on which producers share detailed information about their processes with buyers and consumers. It’s a great example of supply chain transparency. A Sourcemap ecolabel carries information about products and their origins and sometimes (but not always) their environmental and social footprints. http://www.sourcemap.com

In this and my previous blog I have touched on social and environmental standards I trust. For a full overview, visit: https://www.textilestandards.com/standards