As mankind’s negative impact on climate change, along with the consequences of an improper use of natural resources, are increasingly clear to all, a growing part of the world population is aware of how relevant our actions are for the future of this planet. Such an awareness has marked a change of pace for an increased number of companies that, in the fashion industry as well as in other sectors, have started prioritizing the respect for the environment, introducing products and services, which, with their reduced environmental impact, contribute to the well-being of the Earth we live on.
An eco-friendly commitment that can be recognized by consumers thanks to corporate transparency, an attitude that is now increasingly central for plans involving textiles and fashion and that sees its most concrete and convincing expression in the traceability of the production chain and in the possession of environmental product certifications.
Issued by local and international entities, environmental certifications for sustainable fashion ensure consumers that products have been made in full compliance with environmental and social sustainability standards, confirming the origin and nature of the materials used in the production process. These recognitions, in addition to attesting the efforts undertaken and reassuring on future commitments, contribute to promote ecologically virtuous behaviors.
Here are the most common sustainability certifications for the textile and fashion
GOTS – Global Organic Textile Standard Certification
World leader in defining the environmental and social criteria that must guide the production and processing of organic fibers, the Global Organic Textile Standard (Gots) has been developed by a series of organizations operating in organic agriculture to ensure the responsible and sustainable development of textile industry.
Recognized as the most important international standard for the sustainable production of clothing and textile products made with organically produced raw materials (such as cotton and wool), it aims at verifying the total absence of chemicals that do not comply with the basic requirements on toxicity and biodegradability.
Every stage of the textile chain for items labeled by GOTS is controlled: from the cultivation of cotton to the packaging of the final product, including the processes of spinning, weaving, finishing and packaging. The issue of GOTS certificate occurs as a result of a preliminary assessment and subsequent inspection, which must necessarily be followed by an annual control that verifies the maintenance of high quality standards.
BCI – Better Cotton Initiative Certification
Founded in 2005 to promote an internationally recognized quality standard for a more sustainable cultivation of cotton, BCI has managed to achieve both a drastic decrease in the use of pesticides and water consumption, and an increase in the volume of crops through growers’ training programs.
Different from the traditional cotton production, BCI certified cultivation produces Better Cotton (or BCI) bales, which are then absorbed in the market by members of the Better Cotton Initiative. By contributing to the improvement of the cotton cultivation, with the aim of ensuring greater sustainability, BCI member firms represent a guarantee of the respect for the environment in which cotton is produced, as well as of the working conditions of people involved in this process.
FSC- Forest Stewardship Council Certification
Specifically designed for the forestry sector and for products deriving from forests (both woody ones and not), the certificate issued by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) guarantees that raw material used in the garments comes from responsibly managed forests and that respect of workers, inhabitants and territory has been fully ensured.
The certificate is issued exclusively by Certification Bodies in possession of FSC accreditation from the independent organization Assurances Services International, can be obtained after an inspection carried out at the forest or at the organization and remains valid for a period of 5 years compatibly with positive outcomes of annual controls guaranteeing compliance with quality standards over time.
GRS (Global Recycled Standard) Certification
By allowing companies to track the exact amount of recycled material in a product and to follow its entire production chain, GRS certification aims at fostering the reduction of resource consumption (such as water and energy) and increasing the quality of recycled products.