A Guide to Eco Standards
Blue Angel / Blauer Engel – is awarded by the RAL gGmbH quality assurance institute to products that have better life cycle assessments compared to others from the same product group. It is also widely recognised outside Germany.
bluesign® – is a standard for optimised resource utilisation in e.g. textile production processes and particularly focuses on environmental protection and health and safety at work. www.bluesign.com
BSCI – is an initiative for the monitoring and improvement of social compliance, currently comprising over 700 participating companies. The SA8000® is BSCI’s best-practice standard for supplier companies. In addition to auditing by independent certification agencies, the main areas of BSCI activity are providing training for production facilities and maintaining dialogue with stakeholders at various levels. www.bsci-intl.org
Cotton made in Africa – is an enterprise-driven initiative to fight poverty and protect the environment in Africa. Small-scale farmers are taught efficient and environmentally friendly methods for the production of cotton, which can then be bought by international textile companies at world market prices for their global value chains. The farmer’s benefit from higher earnings, better incomes, infrastructure development measures and investment in education. www.cotton-made-in-africa.com
Cradle to Cradle® – is a material-cycle based standard. It requires achievement in: use of materials that are safe for human health and the environment across their life cycles, product and system design for material reutilisation, use of renewable energy, efficient use of water, and maximum water quality associated with production as well as company strategies for social responsibility.
EU Ecolabel – this label includes caps for energy consumption as well as for airborne and waterborne emissions from production processes. Additionally it stands for the reduction of environmental or health damaging residues.
Fairtrade® – the Fairtrade Certified Cotton mark denotes products that have been made from certified fairtrade cotton. A fixed minimum price, a fairtrade premium and environmental criteria ensure that the living and working conditions of the families of small farmers are improved. The other enterprises within the supply chain must provide evidence of compliance with the ILO core labour standards. www.fairtrade.net www.fairtrade.ie
FSC® – this internationally recognised standard certifies timber and paper products from responsible forestry production according to globally uniform and strict criteria. www.fsc.org
GoodWeave™ – has the aim of eliminating exploitative child labour in the carpet industry. The initiative was established by non-governmental organisations and the carpet industry. GoodWeave supports educational, social and environmental programmes in carpet-making countries. www.goodweave.org
Global Recycling Standard – the GRS is intended for companies making and/or selling products with recycled content. The standard applies to the full supply chain and addresses traceability, environmental principles, social requirements, and labeling. Developed with the textile industry in mind, the GRS may also be applied to products from any industry. A new version of the GRS is being developed, for release in early 2012. The new version will also address chemical inputs.
GOTS – the Global Organic Textile Standard is an international certificate for the monitoring of production processes along the supply chain of organically produced natural fibres. It also includes compliance with social standards. www.global-standard.org
ISO 14001 – is an international certification standard for environmental management systems. It can be applied to production and trading companies. www.iso.org/iso/iso_14000_essentials
OE Standards – track and document the purchase, handling and use of certified organic cotton in yarns, fabrics, and finished goods. The OE 100 applies to goods made with 100 % organically grown cotton, while the OE Blended applies to goods made of a blended material containing a minimum of 5 % organically grown cotton. The standards are chain of custody standards that only back up organic cotton content claims, and do not address other inputs, or the social and environmental impacts of processing. New versions of the OE standards are being developed, for release in early 2012. The new standards will be applicable to all organically grown fibers, not just cotton. http://textileexchange.org/content/oe-standards
Oeko-Tex® Standard (1000 / 100plus) – the Oeko-Tex® Standard 1000 certifies production facilities along the entire supply chain in terms of environmentally and socially responsible production conditions. The Oeko-Tex® Standard 100plus combines the Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 – which designates human-ecology safe textile products that have been tested for harmful substances – and the standard 1000. www.oeko-tex.com/
PEFC™ – the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification is an independent certification system. Wood and wood products with the PEFC label are verifiably from ecologically, economically and socially sustainable forestry. Chain-of-custody certification enables tracking of the entire production process from the certified forest stand to the final product. PEFC as an umbrella organisation defines requirements for forest certification systems and standards. These must be fulfilled at national level and must respond to local demand, interest and commitment in order to be recognised by PEFC. www.pefc.org
Rugmark® – Rugmark India certifies handmade carpets in accordance with international standards of social responsibility. The major aim is the elimination of illegal child labour. Additionally children removed from carpet weaving as well as children of poor carpet weavers get access to education, rehabilitation and health-care. Rugmark works with a track and trace system. www.rugmarkindia.org
SA8000® – is an international certification standard for the improvement of working conditions around the world, and is highly regarded as a multi-industry benchmark standard that includes the agricultural sector. http://www.sa-intl.org/