In my previous post, I wrote about sustainable fashion brands you need to know. I love finding and highlighting amazing brands who are doing good in the world but I want to create an entire ecosystem to arm you with the knowledge to find brands and decipher their ethical credentials. In this post, I’m going to highlight some key sustainable fashion certifications to look for when researching brands.
The most well known sustainable fashion certifications:
Right, now that we’ve gone over envvironmental and social certifications, here are six of the most common certifications to look out for when you’re researching sustainable brands.
Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)
GOTS is a certification known as the toughest organic textile standard as it goes beyond organic farming and harvesting, it overs manufacturing, packaging, labelling and distribution. It aims to limit toxic bleaches, dyes and other toxic substances as well as protecting employees.
GOTS is comprised of four member organisations – OTA (USA), IVN (Germany), Soil Association (UK) and JOCA (Japan), which work together with some other international organisations/experts. Textile producers are able to export their garments with one certification which is known and accepted in all major markets. It covers all textiles made from at least 70% certified organic natural fibres including cotton, wool and silk.
This is another well known ethical certification. It is primarily concerned with processing, ensuring that textiles don’t contain toxic chemicals, ranging from illegal chemicals, chemicals which are legal but harmful to health, chemicals which are generally safe and safe chemicals. You’ll often see Oeko-Tex and GOTS certifications together.
Fairtrade Textile Standard
Fairtrade is one of the most well known ethical certifications and with good reason. It takes into account economic, environmental and social criteria, making it super comprehensive. The Fairtrade Minimum Price provides producers with a safety net and helps facilitate long-term planning for farmers and workers.
It also includes responsible water and waste management, minimising the use of pesticides and preserving biodiversity. From a social aspect, they prioritise working with small-scale producers and cooperatives, gender equality, safeguarding worker safety and prohibiting both forced and child labour.
SA8000 Social Accountability International
This one just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it? This is one of the leading social certifications for factories. It protects workers by ensuring fair treatment and labour practices abide by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Labour Organisations.
Better Cotton Initiative
The Better Cotton Initiative is one of the most commonly used cotton-specific certifications. It’s based around ethical production standards sustainability and economic development principles and supply chain management. Brands such as ASOS, Levis and Nike are members of the BCI.
Organic Content Standard
Full disclosure, this certification only assesses the final product, not the raw materials (independently verified) or processing (chemicals), social or labour issues. The OCS verifies that the final product contains the correct amount of organic material and that sufficient steps were taken to preserve the integrity of the materials. Brands such as Mango and C&A use this standard.
There are a ton of different sustainable fashion certifications I could mention but I wanted to focus on the most well known and easiest to research. If you have any questions or want some more info, drop me a comment.
Dress by AVAVAV
Boots by Mango
Bag by JW Anderson