Sustainability, also known as responsibility, is the new generation value that needs to be integrated into the key existing value dynamics of fashion that are about design and innovation. This lead in first place companies to take a broader approach at all phases of fashion creation to make certain responsibility is embedded throughout fashion development and production.
Sustainability starts with company, that through their new strategic vision will integrate this new dimension of responsibility into everything they do, produce and market. In this perspective, the product is a consequence of this new approach. It is important that brands and retailers adopt a new way of design thinking. This new way of design thinking represents a shift in culture to communicate toward the new conscious and knowledgeable consumer.
How to measure this new way of doing business that is able to integrate responsibility?
One of the major tool to do it is “certifications”.
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 MAJOR PRODUCT CERTIFICATIONS
Furthermore, how to measure the responsibility factor into products?
Below some examples, applying to different categories.
Sustainable Textile Production (STEP) by OEKO-TEX®
A certification system for brands, retail companies and manufacturers from the textile chain who want to communicate their achievements regarding sustainable manufacturing processes to the public in a transparent and credible manner. Certification is possible from production facilities to finishing facilities and manufacturers of ready-made textile items. Through modular analysis of all relevant company areas such as management of chemicals, environmental performance, …, the STeP certification finally allows a comprehensive and reliable analysis of the extent of sustainable management provided by a production facility.
STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX®
The STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® is a worldwide independent testing and certification system for raw, semi-finished, and finished textile products at all processing levels, as well as accessory materials used.
On the basis of its comprehensive and strict catalogue of measures, with several hundred regulated individual substances, this certification takes account of:
1 – Important legal regulations, such as banned Azo colourants, formaldehyde, pentachlorophenol, nickel, …
2 – Numerous harmful chemicals, even if they are not yet legally regulated
Organic fibres includes cotton, wool, hemp, flax (linen), and other natural fibres grown according to national organic standards without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, or genetic engineering.
Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)
The Global Organic Textile Standard is the most 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.
Recycled are generally born from a secondary cycle of processing. To obtain them, we normally use 2 sources:
– PRE CONSUMER materials arising from industrial and commercial processing of textiles or manufacturing of garments (scraps, excess inventory, defective materials,..).
– POST CONSUMER a raw material source created from materials that have been used and disposed. The recycle of textile is normally done with 2 different procesess: mechanical and chemical recycling. They are two completely different processes with different prerequisites and result in different materials.
Global Recycled Standard (GRS)
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.
Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Product Standard
This certification guides designers and manufacturers through a continual improvement process, aiming to achieve a circular economy approach, that looks at a product through five quality categories — material health, material reutilization, renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship, and social fairness. A product receives an achievement level in each category — Basic, Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum — with the lowest achievement level representing the product’s overall mark. The criteria, at each level, builds towards the expectation of eliminating all toxic and unidentified chemicals, and becoming nutrients for a safe, continuous cycle.
In fact, product assessments are performed by a qualified independent organization trained by the Institute. Then, the Institute reviews the assessment summary reports and certifies products meeting the Standard requirements, licenses the use of the C2C Certified™ word and design marks to the product manufacturer. Every two years, manufacturers must demonstrate good faith efforts to improve their products in order to have their products recertified.
DETOX TO ZERO by OEKO-TEX®
Companies committed to the Greenpeace Detox campaign, a project whose purpose is to eliminate substances which can be dangerous to man and environment at the beginning of the supply chain, often find themselves in the challenging situation of fulfilling the roadmap 2020.
DETOX TO ZERO by OEKO-TEX® enables manufacturers along the textile chain to assess the status of their chemical management systems and the quality of their wastewater and sludge with regard to the Detox goals of the Greenpeace campaign, all documented using credible, independent verification.
The ZDHC Programme
The ZDHC Programme today released a Chemical Management System Guidance Manual for factories, brands, retailers and suppliers. A comprehensive and pragmatic process for managing hazardous chemicals that allows an entry point for different roles in the supply chain.
It has identified four key areas and two cross-cutting areas which are critical towards eliminating hazardous chemicals from the global textile, leather and footwear industries: MRSL & Conformance Guidance, Wastewater Quality, Audit Protocol and Research, and the two cross-cutting areas are Data & Disclosure and Training.
ECO PASSPORT by OEKO-TEX®
An independent testing and certification system for chemicals, colourants and auxiliaries used to manufacture textiles. A three-stage verification process analyses whether the chemical products and each individual ingredient meet specific requirements with regard to sustainability, safety and compliance with statutory regulations.
– 1 : Restricted Substance List and Manufacturing Restricted Substance List screening
– 2 : Analytical verification performed in an OEKO-TEX® member institute laboratory
– 3 (optional) : Verification of product stewardship measures regarding the working conditions and environmental management (assessment and On-site visit).
LCA (Life-Cycle Assessment)
LCA is a technique to assess environmental impacts associated with all the stages of a product’s life. Consequently, designers use this process to help critique their products. LCAs can help avoid a narrow outlook on environmental concerns by:
– Compiling an inventory of relevant energy and material inputs and environmental releases
– Evaluating the potential impacts associated with identified inputs and releases
– Interpreting the results to help make a more informed decision.
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