Certifying Sustainable Progress
The growing concerns over the social and environmental ramifications of the apparel production, treatment, and dyeing processes have driven technological innovation within the sector. Of course, sourcing deadstock materials in need of a home or plant dyeing are both low-impact options. However, the demand for a larger scale of production might not find these options viable, which leads us to other sustainable options. This post will leave you with some certifications that you can look for as a customer to ensure environmentally and socially responsible production. Just take some time for a little bit of research to see if brands you love are taking necessary precautions to make the world a greener and cleaner place.
Bluesign® utilizes an ethical approach that puts the safety of the environment and humans first. The company is a Swiss group called bluesign®-technologies with industry experts in chemistry, textile production, factory auditing, and certification. Purchasing something with bluesign® certification means that the product utilized the best technologies available, responsibly sourced materials, and thoughtfully minimized impacts on human and natural environments. Although this company offers a wide range of services that monitor a garments journey from material to factories, we will be focusing on their chemical services.
Bluesign®FINDER assesses the risks of chemicals and authorizes the use of those that are safe for people and the planet. Rather than treating the chemical wastewater once post treatment or dye, Bluesign® certified production assures chemical safety from the start. Along with efficient water and energy use. Bluesign® has one of the most stringent lists of restricted chemicals for the dyeing and finishing process. So, production facilities can basically choose to be Bluesign® compliant and offer sustainable services for treating and dyeing. We see this as an excellent eco-friendly and socially responsible to move forward with a larger scale of production. We love seeing brands like Eileen Fisher, Patagonia, and REI produce throug Bluesign®.
OEKO-TEX® provides a variety of services and certificates to authenticate low-impact and ethical production for the textile and leather industry. Since 1992, they have been certifying harmless textile products. Most fashion brands try to hide the truth from consumers, but OEKO-TEX believes in more transparency for a more sustainable future. Their standards range from “inspiring confidence” to “confidence” in the production realm. These various certifications include MADE IN GREEN, STANDARD 100, LEATHER STANDARD, STeP, DETOX TO ZERO, & ECO PASSPORT. You can actually check out their website and enter your OEKO-TEX® label number to see exactly what standards your garment has been held to.
Standard 100 is the most well-known OKEO-TEX standard and has been around since the start of the company. The certification applies to all aspects and steps of the production process. If you see this label, you will know that every single aspect of your garment or product has complied with the stringent test criteria. The tests are conducted by independent institutes, and they issue certificates to those companies who live up to their standards. Over 14,000 companies have had articles certified by Standard 100.
Look for GOTS—Global Organic Textile Standards—to identify companies who take their cotton production seriously. GOTS means that 95% or more of the product must be organic, and it signifies that hazardous chemical inputs are prohibited. This refers to growing the actual crop and processing it—no hazardous pesticides can be used nor any toxic additives in the processing, like flame retardants. This standard also ensures ethical working conditions (Check our Sourcing Organic Cotton post for more info). We are all about using GOTS as a preferred fiber for eMpulse.
Cradle to Cradle™
This certification ensures that safe and sustainable products are entering our circular economy. Pioneered by William McDonough and Dr. Michael Braungart, this certification works with a wide variety of products like apparel, flooring, water bottle, etc. Cradle to Cradle™ takes into consideration Material Health, Material Reuse, Renewable Energy and Carbon Management, Water Stewardship, and Social Fairness. The Material Health portion specifically ensures that the chemicals used are as safe as technologically possible for the planet and people. Designers and product developers, as well as specific manufacturers, may earn these Cradle to Cradle™ certified. A product or facility can be awarded either as basic, bronze, silver, gold, or platinum.
We love this certification due to its long-term vision. Once something utilizes resources and is created on this planet, it never just disappears. So, ensuring that products are manufactured in a prosperous and thoughtful manner guarantees that they can continue through the circular economy and provide many uses for those resources. Taking into consideration the lifelong and post-life fate of our garments is extremely necessary, so choosing products that are Cradle to Cradle™ certified is an excellent way of reducing your lasting impact on this planet.
Certifying Our Progress
A variety of different certifications exist to help consumers choose thoughtful low-impact products. These are just a few of the verifications that we stand behind and respect. Some other certifications to look into can be found out here. As this voluntary sustainable certification grows as a field, there needs to be a drive for policy reform at the federal level. The environmental and social damage from the textile industry must be curtailed, and that can be done through developed nations’ legislation. It is our responsibility to ensure that business is done where the concerns for profit, people, and planet are at a balance, rather than profit triumphing all.
Continuously Questioning the Norm,
eM and the eMpulse team
Cover Photo Source: Apparel Resources