The global fashion industry has embarked on a transformative journey towards sustainability, with many companies making grand claims about the eco-friendliness of their products. Do they just talk the sustainability talk or do they also walk the sustainable walk? There is only one true way to find out and that's through certifications. Understanding the certifications helps you make a better purchasing decision. We have put together a list of 9 certifications to help you reduce fashion's ecological and social footprint one purchase at a time.
GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard):
European fashion brands often seek GOTS certification to verify that their products are made from organic materials and adhere to strict environmental and social criteria. This certification encompasses the entire supply chain, from farming to manufacturing.
OEKO-TEX Standard 100:
This certification assures consumers that textile products do not contain harmful substances. It is widely embraced by European brands, emphasizing the importance of product safety and quality.
European brands frequently participate in Fair Trade initiatives, guaranteeing fair wages and ethical working conditions for laborers. This commitment to fairness extends to developing countries, reinforcing the ethical dimension of European sustainability standards.
Cradle to Cradle (C2C) Certification:
American brands often pursue C2C certification, which assesses products for their environmental and social impact throughout their entire life cycle. This holistic approach encourages innovative design and material choices.
B Corp Certification:
Some American fashion companies choose to become B Corps, emphasizing their commitment to social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. Brands like Patagonia and Eileen Fisher proudly bear this certification.
USDA Organic Certification:
For apparel brands emphasizing organic materials, the USDA Organic Certification ensures that fibers such as cotton and hemp meet strict organic farming standards, aligning with American consumers' preference for eco-friendly materials.
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC):
This certification is a globally recognized standard that promotes responsible and sustainable forestry practices. It ensures that forests are managed in an environmentally, socially, and economically responsible manner. FSC-certified products, such as wood and paper used in packaging, and fabric such as viscose, model, or Lyocell come from forests that meet strict criteria for conservation, community engagement, and sustainable resource management.
Ethical Clothing Australia (ECA) certification:
This is a recognition of ethical and fair labor practices within the Australian fashion industry. This certification ensures that clothing brands and manufacturers in Australia adhere to strict ethical standards in their production processes.
Key aspects of ECA certification include fair wages, safe working conditions, and the protection of workers' rights. Brands that receive this certification are committed to transparency and accountability in their supply chains, emphasizing the well-being of the people involved in the manufacturing process.
The Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP):
WRAP certification is a globally recognized standard for ethical and responsible manufacturing practices, particularly within the textile and apparel industry. WRAP certification signifies a commitment to producing goods under conditions that prioritize social responsibility, worker rights, and environmental considerations
Key highlights of WRAP certification include:
Ethical Labor Practices: WRAP-certified facilities ensure fair wages, safe working conditions, and adherence to labor laws. They prohibit child labor and forced labor, fostering a work environment that respects human rights.
Environmental Stewardship: While WRAP primarily focuses on labor practices, it also encourages eco-friendly measures. Certified facilities aim to minimize their environmental impact by promoting responsible resource management and waste reduction.
Transparency and Accountability: WRAP certification requires transparency in supply chains and production processes. Brands and manufacturers must demonstrate their commitment to ethical practices and are subject to regular audits to verify compliance.
Global Reach: WRAP is an international certification recognized by brands, suppliers, and consumers worldwide. It extends beyond fashion to encompass various industries, promoting ethical standards in manufacturing on a global scale.
Consumer Trust: For consumers, WRAP certification serves as a symbol of responsible production. It allows them to make informed choices, supporting brands and products that align with their values of ethical and sustainable consumption.
These certifications align with the growing demand for transparency and responsible production within the fashion industry, allowing consumers to make informed choices that support fair labor practices and ethical fashion.