Hey there! If you’ve been following our “Eco-Friendly” series, you may have noticed some terms like ‘GOTS-certified,’ ‘WRAP certified,’ ‘Oeko-Tex,’ etc. But what do they all mean? Well, these terms, and others, are various eco-friendly certifications that businesses, corporations, and even entire industries can work towards achieving in order to make their products more environmentally friendly, sustainable, and humane. The great thing is, these eco-friendly certifications cover all angles of product production: treatment of workers, factory conditions, emissions, product quality, material quality, and much more. However, with so many different certifications, it can be tough to navigate. Not to mention, they can vary by industry. We are going to break down the most common sustainable, humane, and eco-friendly certifications the fashion industry features. We also included logos, so you know what to look for!
Let’s kick things off with B Corporations. These corporations focus on business and the environment equally. They have to be transparent and meet social and environmental performance standards. They still prioritize profits, but they work hard to balance this with their environmental footprint and consider people and infrastructure in the process!
CarbonNeutral® certifies that businesses have measured and reduced their CO2 emissions to net zero for their company, products, operations or services. A company can only display this mark if they meet the CarbonNeutral Protocol. In other words, if you see a company that is carbon neutral and you’ve got some space in your closet, consider purchasing from this brand!
This certification is given to vegan products. Or products containing no animal ingredients or by-products, using no animal ingredients or by-products in the manufacturing process, and not tested on animals by any company or independent contractor. Essentially, it’s a vegan green light!
Ecocert is a certification body for sustainable development. This European group focuses on organic agriculture and organic farming. These guys set the international standards for everything organic. Products, from start to finish, earn the Ecocert seal of approval if they feature all organic materials at every stage of development (even labels and packaging!). They take ‘organic’ to a whole new level!
Fair Labor Practices and Community Benefits
Earning a Fair Labor Practices and Community Benefits label means a company has accomplished a number of things: First, they support safe working conditions, access to health, education and transportation services, and support local and regional communities. They also care about their environmental impact and only source quality, organic materials for their products. Certainly something to look for when shopping!
Fairtrade is an ethical trade system that puts people first. Fairtrade ensures farmers and workers in developing countries are given a fair price for their products. This helps individuals reinvest in their farms and businesses and also reduces poverty. A great cause being adopted by more and more brands!
Global Organic Textile Standard
The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) was developed to provide global standards for textile production. This includes every stage from harvesting the raw materials, manufacturing, and even labeling in order to provide consumers with a quality product. All GOTS products use certified organic fibers and adhere to on-site inspections. No fibers left behind!
Oeko-Tex Standard 100
The Oeko-Tex Standard 100 is a globally recognized system used for testing and certifying raw textiles in all stages of production.
The process tests materials for harmful substances and chemicals, which are harmful to health, but are not officially forbidden. A primary rule of this certification is the more a product has direct contact with the skin, the stricter the criteria for certification. So, clothing brands that seek this certification are really doing their due diligence! In other words, if you see a piece with this label you can wear it confidently!
Oeko-Tex Standard 1000
This certification is awarded to companies who not only use Oeko-Tex 100 certified materials, but also work with Oeko-Tex 100 companies throughout the manufacturing process. Where a brand sources their materials, where they stitch their products, get their packaging materials etc. must be environmentally-friendly to some degree. Companies who earn this certification are highly committed to eco-friendly, sustainable, and humane production! This is definitely one to look out for!
WRAP stands for Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production. It focuses primarily on apparel, sewn products, and footwear. WRAP seeks to ensure companies and manufacturers are treating employees fairly in an ethical and safe environment. Their certification varies depending on where the factories are located, but if you purchase from a WRAP certified brand you can be sure your new clothing item was made ethically and humanely!
Buy Mindfully, Buy Compassionately, Buy Sustainably
Now that you know what to look out for, you can shop eco-friendly with confidence! It’s unlikely a brand will have all of these certifications; however, featuring even just one makes a big difference. Now, go out and buy mindfully, compassionately, and sustainably and make a difference with every dollar!