Navigating the world of sustainable and ethical fashion can be overwhelming and confusing...as a relative newbie to this world I'm speaking from experience! There are so many standards and certifications associated with eco fashion which cover various aspects of the supply chain. A number of these standards are country specific but there are also some commonly found international standards to look out for. On your next shopping venture these are the top four international standards to have on your radar so you can discover sustainable and ethical brands and make informed purchases:
Fair Trade Certifications
World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) - The World Fair Trade Organisation supports small producers and their communities. It's product label is a symbol not only for fair trade but also practices across the supply chain, all of which are checked by the WFTO using their 10 Fair Trade Principals. These principals cover discrimination, child and forced labour, transparency and accountability, fair pay, good working conditions and more, and while most are mandatory those that are non-mandatory require proof of continuous improvement over time.
Fairtrade International (FLO) - An alternative approach to conventional trade, Fairtrade International is based on a partnership between producers and consumers. Standards are detailed and cover small producer organizations, hired labour and contract production plus specific standards for traders, climate and textiles. Designed to address the imbalance of power in trading relationships this standard protects those at all levels of the supply chain.
Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) - Focussing on environmentally and socially responsible textile production, the Global Organic Textile Standard identifies textiles that meet this criteria. To bare their label textiles must contain a minimum of 70% organic fibers and all chemical inputs must meet environmental and toxicological criteria. This certification also requires treatment of waste water in the textile production process and the protection of workers at all stages of the production process by meeting certain social criteria.
Oeko-Tex Confidence in Textiles - Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex, an association of independent research and testing institutes, is a third party certification system for textile products at all stages of production and has been in operation since 1992. Oeko-Tex regulates several hundred individual substances, some of which are harmful chemicals that are not yet legally regulated, and conducts extensive product checks and regular company audits to ensure a globally sustainable awareness of the responsible use of chemicals in the industry.
Are there any standards you've come across that you think we should all be more aware of? The more we understand and look out for these standards and certifications the better!