The major company certifications
SA8000® Standard – Social Certification
SA8000® STANDARD is the leading social certification standard for factories and organizations across the globe. It was established by Social Accountability International in 1997 as a multi-stakeholder initiative. Over the years, the Standard has evolved into an overall framework that helps certified organizations demonstrate their dedication to the fair treatment of workers across industries and in any country.
This certification measures social performance in eight areas important to social accountability in workplaces. Indeed, it’s anchored by a management system element that drives continuous improvement in all areas of the Standard.
ISO 14001:2015 – Environmental Management Certification
ISO 14001:2015 sets out the criteria for an environmental management system.
It maps out a framework that a company or organization can follow to set up an effective environmental management system.
Moreover, any organization regardless of its activity or sector can use it.
ISO 9001:2015 – Quality Management Certification
ISO 9001:2015 sets out the criteria for a quality management system.
Furthermore, any organization, large or small, regardless of its field of activity can use it.
Using ISO 9001:2015 helps ensure that customers get consistent, good quality products and services, which in turn brings many business benefits.
The Higg Index
Developed by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, the Higg Index is a suite of tools that enables brands, retailers, and facilities of all sizes — at every stage in their sustainability journey — to accurately measure and score a company or product’s sustainability performance. The Higg Index delivers a holistic overview that empowers businesses to make meaningful improvements that protect the well-being of factory workers, local communities, and the environment.
REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals)
REACH is a European Union regulation adopted to better protect human health and the environment from the risks of chemicals, while promoting the competitiveness of the EU chemicals industry. It also promotes alternative methods for assessing the hazards of substances in order to reduce the number of animal tests.
The major product certifications
Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)
The Global Organic Textile Standard is the best known standard for sustainable production of garments and natural fibre textile products from organic farming such as organic cotton or organic wool.
GOTS certification applies to textile products, the textile chemicals used, and all manufacturing activities. This certification criteria measures environmental, technical quality, toxicity and social impacts. GOTS is backed by independent certification for the entire supply chain.
Global Recycled Standard (GRS)
The Global Recycled Standard is promoted by Textile Exchange, an important international non-profit organization that promotes responsible and sustainable development. GRS provides evidence and criteria to cover the following:
1 — Composition of the recycled product
2 — Maintaining traceability throughout the complete process
3 — Restrictions on chemical use
4 — Compliance with environmental criteria – water supply, effluent, energy recovery
5 — Respect of social criteria and workers’ rights
The goal of “the GRS is to provide brands with a tool for more accurate labeling, to encourage innovation in the use of reclaimed materials, to establish more transparency in the supply chain, and to provide better information to consumers.” From Textile Exchange
Organic Content Standard (OCS)
The Organic Content Standard (OSC) is promoted by Textile Exchange, an important international non-profit organization that promotes responsible and sustainable development.
It relies on third-party verification to verify the presence and percentage of organic materials in the final product and follows the flow of raw materials from origin to finished product.
“It does not address the use of chemicals or any social or environmental aspects of production beyond the integrity of the organic material.” From Textile Exchange
Within the Organic Content Standard, a distinction must be made between “OCS 100” and “OCS Blended” certifications.
Only “OCS 100” certification guarantees 100% organic content.
The difference between “OCS 100” and “OCS-Blended” implies that the articles are composed of at least 5% organic content mixed with other materials, and shows the % organic content on the logo.
Better Cotton Initiative (BCI)
The BCI certification was created by the partnership between WWF and a group of power-players from the textile world (H&M, Adidas, GAP, IKEA, etc). The objectives of this initiative are :
- Reduce pesticides in cotton cultivation
- Reduce water consumption
- To increase the quality of the cultivation soil
- Maintain a level of quality of cotton fibres
The fibre Lenzing™ EcoVero™ offers a higher level of compliance with ecological requirements than other viscose fibres for essentially three reasons :
- Viscose fibre made exclusively from sustainably certified raw materials such as sustainable wood with the Forest Stewardship Council® or Pan Forest European Certification® labels
- Manufacturing processes certified in sustainability by Higg Index and EU Eco Label, which are independent sustainability certification bodies
- The manufacture of this Lenzing EcoVero fibre is carried out with the utmost transparency and complete traceability at every stage of the production process, making it possible to identify the raw material in the finished product
“FSC forest management certification confirms that the forest is being managed in a way that preserves biological diversity and benefits the lives of local people and workers, while ensuring it sustains economic viability” more info here
Only a product (made of wood or paper) that is FSC-certified can receive the FSC label. This can be found on the product itself or on its packaging.
In fashion, this can include wood-based cellulose fibres, such as viscose, rayon, acetate; eyeglass frames based on cellulose acetate; as well as any object derived from wood and packaging made of cardboard, paper, etc.
RCS (Recycled Claim Standard)
The Recycled Claim Standard (RCS) is used as a chain of custody standard to track recycled raw materials through the supply chain.
“The goal of the RCS is to increase the use of Recycled materials.
- Provide consumers (both brands and end consumers) with a tool to make informed decisions
- Provide assurance that materials are actually Recycled and in a final product
The Recycled Claim Standard is intended for use with any product that contains at least 5% Recycled Material.
Each stage of production is required to be certified, beginning at the recycling stage and ending at the last seller in the final business-to-business transaction. (…)
The RCS does not address social or environmental aspects of processing and manufacturing, quality, or legal compliance” from Textile Exchange.
The major process certifications
OEKO-TEX STANDARD 100
The OEKO-TEX® standard 100 is an international testing and certification system for harmful substances in textiles. It certifies the non-toxicity of textiles and dyestuffs and thus prevents the use of harmful substances.
This includes threads, buttons, zippers and linings. The prints and coatings applied to the outer material are also tested for harmful substances according to the criteria applicable to them. “
More info here
ZDHC (Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals) Program
Apparel and footwear supply chains are long, complicated and continuously moving into developing countries where labor is cheap. This means manufacturing facilities and workers may lack the knowledge and training necessary to implement a chemicals management program. ZDHC has established and implemented the following competencies to drive their work.
- Capture and share best practices
- Use management systems thinking
- Open transparent communication
- Engage with stakeholders across different regions and cultures