Sustainable Fashion: Manufacturing Certifications you should know
By Heather Cope
Certifications in this world of sustainable fashion are becoming more vital by the day. As “greenwashing” is on the rise and truth becomes harder to decipher from false claims, we require greater regulations over the environmental and social performance of companies.
Why are they important?
The process of becoming certified for environmental and social responsibility allows a company to achieve its objectives in sustainable production. A company working on being more ‘sustainable’ means very little, today. They act as a great incentive. To commit to better practices across the board, there must be a label to differentiate companies from each other and improve reputation. Otherwise, there’s little incentive to change.
Take a look at the top 5 Manufacturing Certifications you should know:
Organic Content Standard (OCS)
This verifies that the raw material and end product has met all organic criteria throughout its journey. The aim of the Organic Content Standard (OCS) is to build trust amongst consumers and retailers in organic content claims.
The OCS certification achieves this by establishing the amount of organic material in the final product. Here are the two different types of awards you can receive:
- OCS 100: If the product contains 95% or more organic material
- OCS Blended: If the product contains a 5% minimum of organic material that can be blended with conventional or synthetic raw materials.
Something to note: OCS does not focus on the material content of the product including, the use of chemicals or any social/environmental aspects of production.
Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)
The GOTS remains one of the most globally recognized certifications for textiles that ensures that ‘organic’ yarn, fabrics, and apparel maintain the requirements for organic classification throughout the supply chain. This includes harvesting, processing, exportation, and through to the sale.
Natural fibres may start their journey as organic, however coming into contact with any form of chemical treatment means they are no longer 100% organic.
Additional to this, the GOTS assessment will look for conditions such as forced labour, lack of fair wages, or exposure to unhygienic and unsafe work conditions. Its aim is to increase global transparency in certified organic textiles, accounting for environmental, social, and safety regulations.
Global Recycle Standard
The GRS certification differs in that it places a focus on recyclability. It encourages transparency into the accurate amount of recycled material used to make each product.
The Bronze Certification: If the clothing contains less than 30% recycled material
The Silver Certification: If the clothing contains 70% to 95% recycled material
The Gold Certification: Is issued for products that are 95% to 100% recycled
Sustainable Textile Production (STeP)
STeP assesses companies based on their working conditions. It takes into consideration the environment, and health and safety during fibre production processes, such as spinning, weaving, etc. Of course, the use of chemicals during the treatment process and disposal of waste are also significant elements of the assessment.
Once an audit has been carried out by an official representative from OEKO-TEX®, certification is granted for a 3-year period before re-assessment.
One of the great benefits of STeP Certification is that it provides a bridge between the suppliers and brands. It allows those relationships to be formed with full trust of ethics and environmental values.
Standard 100 is an eco-label certification, which prioritizes the safety of consumers through the assessment of health standards during production.
They ensure the textiles meet the safety requirements by testing raw yarn, post-production textiles, garments, and accessories such as buttons and zippers. Even after certification, products released into the market will be tested to ensure compliance.
As you’d expect from any Fairtrade label, social criteria are at the forefront. To be awarded the certification, cotton farmers must be paid a base-level minimum price for their product.
The certification also requires companies to adhere to social responsibility standards during the processing and manufacture of cotton.
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