3 Textile Certifications to look out for

Textile Certifications

Third-party standards and certifications help manage sustainable production and supply chain operations. The focus can be on resource usage, social factors, specific processes, etc. 

Certifications are prerequisites for a legal (or contractual) obligation with sets of standards acting as guidelines. It specifies how the manufacturing or processing of a product should happen. Goods bearing a certification label imply that it is in accordance with the standard/ standards. The criteria for certification vary between industries. Different third-party organizations use different sets of guidelines to certify their members. The unifying thread, however, is that all certifications serve as a guarantee or an indication that special parameters have been fulfilled. 

In the textile industry, certification programs and initiatives respond to unethical behavior in the supply chains of fashion companies. But again, the standards are not uniform. For example, guidelines for large global fashions are not always applicable to small or emerging fashion brands. 

Conscious consumers verify that a product meets a certain standard(s) by looking at third-party certification proof. But sometimes, the labels can be ambiguous. There is always a chance that a certain certification can make unproven claims which are seen as misleading or as greenwashing

So, how do we best interpret the labels and make sure it's credible? It all boils down to keeping an eye out for the legitimate ones. We will visit three important textile certifications, but first, let's talk a little more about greenwashing. 

Not all green claims are genuine— #Greenwashing 

Large brands occasionally employ the sneaky marketing strategy known as greenwashing simply to express purpose. This means advertising their work as more environmentally friendly and sustainable than what it is (without any verification by a third party). In such cases, even if your intentions are noble, your purchase contribution to do something good will go to waste. 

Greenwashing is a common practice in the textile industry 

The term "greenwashing" was first used in the 1980s when Chevron attempted to market its oil as more eco-friendly than others. The greenwashing bandwagon has gotten heavier over the years and has become a massive global issue.

The controversy of choosing between quality, eco-consciousness, or edginess has carved out a new shift in the fashion industry, i.e., greenwashing. Brands and companies are preying on customers who are unaware of the environmental certifications more than ever. Fashion companies represent their merchandise as conscious or eco-friendly when they frequently are not. Fast-fashion brands like Shien, popular among the younger generations, are an example of greenwashing. The Chinese company has risen to the top of the industry. In less than a decade, their sales have skyrocketed and are estimated at $10 billion in 2020 and $15.7 billion in 2021. Other fast-fashion companies like HM and Uniqlo also report growth on a similar scale. The rapid expansion demonstrates how cheap and fast low-cost clothing manufacturing is. Unfortunately, fast-fashion growth taxes heavily on the planet— clogging up the global landfills with around 80% of their used or discarded textiles. And what is even scarier is that consumers are unaware of the ugly reality, as transparency is not a virtue of the fast-fashion world. 

On the other hand, there are businesses truly committed to empowering the environment. They are more than happy to showcase their production processes and achievements publicly. And in the process, gain customer loyalty and strengthen brand values. For example, outdoor clothing brands like Patagonia win customers' trust by taking environmental action. Plus, the company's transparency serves as further evidence of its activism and sustainable initiatives. 

Fast-fashion brands are aware of the advantage sustainable businesses have in the marketplace, making them resort to greenwashing instead of actually performing the good deed. The textile/fashion industry system is loosely structured, and the lack of government oversight for false green claims makes it easy for fast fashion brands to get away with flagrant and deliberate false representation. This is precisely why it is up to the consumer to decide which business best represents their beliefs. Every last consumer's choice can have an impact. We need to be more conscious about our purchases if we want to ensure the long-term viability of the planet.

Here are three important textile certifications (among others) to watch out for— 

Leading certifying bodies established the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) to align the diverse eco-textile processing standards that are already in place.

Global Organic Textile Standards

GOTS define internationally accepted criteria that guarantee the organic status of textiles- it covers the processing, manufacturing, packaging, labeling, trading, and distribution of products sold as GOTS certified. More on GOTS here

All Terra Thread products are proudly GOTS Certified. 

The Oeko-Tex is an international organization that conducts tests for harmful substances throughout the stages of production. They offer two certification labels— Oeko-Tex Standard 100 and Oeko-Tex Standard 1000. The former implies the products have been manufactured without harmful substances. Meanwhile, the latter is an accreditation system for environmentally friendly production (applied to the production locations). 

Regenerative Organic Certified® is a revolutionary new certification for food, textiles, and personal care ingredients. Regenerative Organic Certified has three levels of certification called ROC Bronze, ROC Silver, and ROC Gold. It is based on three pillars: soil health, animal welfare, and social fairness.

Regenerative Organic Certified

Companies must advance through the levels over time which have different ranges of regenerative organic practices. The ROC™ certification encompasses that the product has met the highest-bar organic credential attainable.

Some other well-known certifications and standards in the textile industry include ISO 9001FairtradeFair Trade CertifiedFair Wear Foundation (FWF), and more.

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