Certifications Explained

GOTS

 

The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is the worldwide leading textile processing standard for organic fibres, including ecological and social criteria, backed up by independent certification of the entire textile supply chain.

 

The aim of the standard is to define world-wide recognised requirements that ensure organic status of textiles, from harvesting of the raw materials, through environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing up to labelling and garment decoration in order to provide a credible assurance to the end consumer.

 

Key criteria for processing and manufacturing GOTS certified products include:

 

Environmental Criteria

 

  • At all stages through the processing organic fibre products must be separated from conventional fibre products and must to be clearly identified
  • All chemical inputs (e.g. dyes, auxiliaries and process chemicals) must be evaluated and meeting basic requirements on toxicity and biodegradability/eliminability
  • Prohibition of critical inputs such as toxic heavy metals, formaldehyde, aromatic solvents, functional nano particles, genetically modified organisms (GMO) and their enzymes
  • The use of synthetic sizing agents is restricted; knitting and weaving oils must not contain heavy metals
  • Bleaches must be based on oxygen (no chlorine bleaching)
  • Azo dyes that release carcinogenic amine compounds are prohibited
  • Discharge printing methods using aromatic solvents and plastisol printing methods using phthalates and PVC are prohibited
  • Restrictions for accessories (e.g. no PVC, nickel or chrome permitted)
  • All operators must have an environmental policy including target goals and procedures to minimise waste and discharges
  • Wet processing units must keep full records of the use of chemicals, energy, water consumption and waste water treatment, including the disposal of sludge. The waste water from all wet processing units must be treated in a functional waste water treatment plant.
  • Packaging material must not contain PVC. Paper or cardboard used in packaging material, hang tags, swing tags etc. must be recycled or certified according to FSC or PEFC

 

Social Criteria

 

Social criteria based on the key norms of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) must be met by all processors and manufacturers. They must have a social compliance management with defined elements in place to ensure that the social criteria can be met.  Including the follows aspects;

 

  • Employment is freely chosen
  • Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining are respected
  • Working conditions are safe and hygienic
  • Child labour must not be used
  • Living wages
  • Working hours are not excessive
  • No discrimination is practised
  • Regular employment is provided
  • Harsh or inhumane treatment is prohibited

 

Soil Association

 

The Soil Association is the UK’s leading membership charity campaigning for healthy, humane and sustainable food, farming and land use.  The certification arm of the charity is the UK’s largest organic certification body and works with over 6,000 businesses to become organic and GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) approved.  This is run as a not for profit company that as well as helping to deliver parts of the Charity’s strategy also generates financial returns that are ploughed back into the Charity’s wider work.

Fair Wear Foundation

 

The Fair Wear Foundation (FWF) is an independent, non-profit organisation that works with companies and factories to improve labour conditions for textile and garment workers. FWF keeps track of the improvements made by the companies it works with. And through sharing expertise, social dialogue and strengthening industrial relations, FWF increases the effectiveness of the efforts made by companies.

Oeko – Tex

 

OEKO-TEX Standard 100 Class II is a globally uniform testing and certification system applying to raw materials used in textiles, intermediate and end products, at all stages of production.

Textile products may be certified according to OEKO-TEX¨ Standard 100 only if all components meet the required criteria without exception.

Fairtrade Foundation

 

Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers.  It’s about supporting the development of thriving farming and worker communities that have more control over their futures and protecting the environment in which they live and work.

 

The Fairtrade Mark means that the Fairtrade ingredients in the product have been produced by small-scale farmer organisations or plantations that meet Fairtrade social, economic and environmental standards. These standards include protection of workers’ rights and the environment, payment of the Fairtrade Minimum Price and an additional Fairtrade Premium to invest in business or community projects.

In the case of cotton, the Fairtrade Foundation will only certify small-scale farmer organisations, to give them a realistic opportunity in the global market. Working through democratic organisations of small-scale farmers, Fairtrade offers rural families the stability of income which enables them to plan for the future.

OTHER SUSTAINABLE MATERIALS

 

Tencel-R

 

Made from tree pulp, generally eucalyptus trees, that are grown on sustainably run farms certified by the FSC (Forest Sterwardship Council).  Benefits include the traceable and sustainable origin, the use of non-toxic chemicals and solvents in processing, high-strength properties due to the high-tenacity cellulose fibre, and the beautifully soft, silky finish of the fabric.

 

Modal-R from Lenzing

 

Another regenerated cellulose fibre, this time from sustainably cultivated forest plantations of beech wood trees.  Benefits similar to Tencel in terms of sustainability and use of non-toxic chemicals in processing, also a soft touch fabric which doesn’t crease.

 

Recycled PET

 

A recycled polyester yarn that comes from recycles PET bottles.  1kg of fabric requires approximately 35 bottles.

 

Wool

 

Bamboo

 

Recycled paper

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