Further Information on our Criteria
1.1. Reduced Chemicals
PFCs (per- and poly-fluorinated chemicals) are man-made chemicals that don’t occur naturally. For years, they have been used in DWR (durable water repellent) coatings and waterproof membranes, with a long-chain (C8) fluorocarbon-based treatment the standard DWR coating. Although highly effective and extraordinarily durable, its by-products are toxic and persist in the environment - a combination that makes it unacceptable despite its excellent performance. Many PFCs are now so widely dispersed that even the tap water we drink has low levels of background pollution. As a result, governments around the globe require chemical companies to stop making C8 DWR. For a DWR product to be classified as “PFC free”, no PFCs can be used in the material or manufacturing of the product.
Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC)
The mission of ZDHC’s “roadmap to zero” is to enable brands and retailers in textile, apparel, and footwear industries to implement sustainable chemical management best practices. Through collaborative engagement, standard-setting, and implementation, the industry will advance towards zero discharge of hazardous chemicals.
The ZDHC Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (MRSL) sets out the chemical substances banned from intentional use in facilities that process textile materials and trim parts in apparel and footwear. The ZDHC MRSL is regularly updated with new chemicals and processes that should be phased out of the supply chain.
MADE IN GREEN by OEKO-TEX® is a traceable product label for all kinds of textiles (e.g., garments, home textiles) and leather products (e.g. garments, finished and semi-finished leathers), including non-textile/-leather components (e.g. accessories). The MADE IN GREEN label verifies that an article has undergone testing for harmful substances carried out through certification under STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® or LEATHER STANDARD by OEKO-TEX®.
It also guarantees that the textile or leather product has been manufactured using sustainable processes under socially responsible working conditions.
1.2. Recycled Materials
N.B. To hit the criteria of recycled plastic content, a product must be made of at least 50% of recycled plastic by product weight*. For recycled cotton, it must be at least 20% of the product to meet the criteria, and for recycled down at least 50% of the down content must be recycled.
* Note on Footwear:
Where thresholds are given as a Percentage Share of a product’s weight, it refers to the product’s total weight, except on footwear.
Footwear is divided into its sole and upper components, and to fulfil the threshold, either the sole or upper components must meet the weight components.
The GRS is an international, voluntary, full product standard that sets the requirements for third-party certification of recycled content, chain of custody, social and environmental practices, and chemical restrictions.
Recycled Claim Standard
The Recycled Claim Standard (RCS) is an international, voluntary standard that sets requirements for third parties. It's a chain of custody standard to track recycled raw materials through the supply chain. It uses the chain of custody requirements of the Content Claim Standard (CSS). The Recycled Claim Standard is intended for use with any product containing at least 5% Recycled Material. Each stage of production must be certified, beginning at the recycling stage, and ending at the last seller in the final business-to-business transaction. Material Collection and Material Concentration sites are subject to self-declaration, document collection, and on-site visits. The RCS standard is a single attribute certification and doesn’t consider social or environmental aspects of processing and manufacturing, quality, or legal compliance.
REPREVE is a branded performance fibre made from recycled materials (including plastic bottles). Repreve’s process embeds properties including wicking, adaptive warming and cooling, water repellency, and more at fibre level, for reliable, durable quality.
1.3. Organic Fibres
The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) was developed by leading standard setters to define world-wide recognised requirements for organic textiles. From the harvesting of the raw materials, environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing to labelling, textiles certified to GOTS provide a credible assurance to the consumer.
From Field to Fashion: The GOTS quality assurance system is based on on-site inspection and certification of the entire textile supply chain (processing and trade). Operators from post-harvest handling up to garment making, as well as wholesalers (including exporters and importers), must undergo an on-site annual inspection cycle and hold a valid certification for the final products to be labelled as GOTS certified.
For a product to qualify under this criterion it’s sufficient for the materials used in the product to be certified as “organic”, even if the brand doesn’t hold the certificate for the product.
N.B. To hit the criteria for organic fibres, 100% of cotton, linen, wool or silk content must be organic, and these fibres must make up 50% or more of the final product.
The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) is a global not-for-profit organisation and the largest cotton sustainability programme in the world. BCI exists to make global cotton production better for the people who produce it, better for the environment it grows in and better for the sector’s future. The Better Cotton Standard System is a holistic approach to sustainable cotton production which covers all three pillars of sustainability: environmental, social, and economic.
Each of the elements – from the Principles and Criteria to the monitoring mechanisms which show results and impact – work together to support the Better Cotton Standard System, and the credibility of Better Cotton and BCI. The system is designed to ensure the exchange of good practices and to encourage the scaling up of collective action to establish Better Cotton as a sustainable mainstream commodity.
1.4. Low-Impact / Positive Impact Fibres
Lyocell is a form of rayon. It consists of cellulose fibre, made from dissolving pulp and then reconstituting it by dry jet-wet spinning, so it can be used to make textiles for clothing and other purposes. Unlike rayon made by the viscose process, lyocell production doesn’t use harmful carbon sulfide, which is toxic to workers and the environment. Lyocell shares many properties with other fibres such as cotton, linen, silk, ramie, hemp, and viscose rayon (which is closely related chemically).
TENCEL™ branded lyocell and modal fibres are produced by environmentally responsible processes from sustainably sourced natural raw material wood.
Derived from certified renewable wood sources using an eco-responsible production process that meets high environmental standards, LENZING™ ECOVERO™ fibres tailor to a sustainable lifestyle, contributing to a cleaner environment.
FSC will promote environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of the world’s forests. FSC forest management certification confirms a forest is being managed to preserve biological diversity and benefits the lives of local people and workers while maintaining economic viability.
PEFC, the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification, is a leading global alliance of national forest certification systems. As an international non-profit, non-governmental organisation, they are dedicated to promoting sustainable forest management through independent third-party certification.
The Responsible Wool Standard is a voluntary standard that addresses the welfare of sheep and the land they graze on. Its goals are to provide the industry with the tools to recognise the best practices of farmers to ensure wool comes from farms with a progressive approach to managing their land, practice holistic respect for the welfare of their sheep and respect the Five Freedoms of animal welfare. The RWS requires all sites to be certified, beginning with the wool farmers right through to the seller in the final business to business transaction. Usually, the last stage to be certified is the garment manufacturer or brand.
ZQ growers and brand partners are committed to protecting our environment, as well as the animals and people behind their businesses. ZQ Natural Fibre is only available through supply agreement contracts set up between the grower and a ZQ brand partner. ZQ is an established grower standard, owned and operated by The New Zealand Merino Company Ltd and is recognised by the ISO/IEC 17065:2012 standard. All ZQ growers adhere to the requirements set out in the ZQ Grower Standard.
NATIVA™ is the most advanced 100% traceable and sustainable global wool brand. NATIVA™ aims to bridge the gap between sustainable sourcing standards and the demands set by consumers.
Wool material may also be accredited by the Responsible Alpaca Standard or the Responsible Mohair Standard.
The Responsible Down Standard (RDS) aims to ensure down and feathers come from animals that haven't been subjected to unnecessary harm. The standard provides companies and consumers with a tool to know what's in their products and that claims are accurate.
Down content is accredited by the Textile Exchange with either the Responsible Down Standard, the DownCodex or the Global Traceable Down Standard.
Leather Working Group is a not-for-profit organisation responsible for the world's leading environmental certification for the leather manufacturing industry. LWG aims to improve the environmental impact of the leather industry by assessing and certifying leather manufacturers.
100% of leather content may also be made from TerraCare Lather in order to qualify.
2. More Responsibly Manufactured
BLUESIGN is a system that provides safer and more sustainable environments for people to work and live in. Powered by a holistic approach, BLUESIGN traces textiles path along the manufacturing process, making improvements at every stage, from the factory floor to the finished product.
BLUESIGN changes the environmental impact of textiles for good. As a solution provider and knowledge broker, BLUESIGN acts as an independent verifier to secure trust and transparency.
The Green Button is a government-run certification label for sustainable textiles. It demands mandatory standards are met to protect people and the environment. A total of 46 stringent social and environmental criteria must be met, covering a wide spectrum from wastewater to forced labour.
Cradle to Cradle Certified® is a globally recognised measure of safer, more sustainable products made for the circular economy. To receive certification, products are assessed for environmental and social performance across five critical sustainability categories: material health, material reuse, renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship, and social fairness.
A product is assigned an achievement level (Basic, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum) for each category. A product’s lowest category achievement also represents its overall certification level. The standard encourages continuous improvement by awarding certification on ascending levels of achievement and requiring certification renewal every two years.
3. Supporting Communities
The Fairtrade Textile Standard is one component of the greater Fairtrade Textile Programme to facilitate change in textile supply chains and related business practices. This comprehensive approach engages manufacturers and workers in the supply chain to bring about better wages and working conditions and engages brands to commit to fair terms of trade.
The WFTO Fair Trade Standard is part of the WFTO Guarantee System. The Standard contains WFTO’s 10 Principles of Fair Trade and defines compliance criteria. The WFTO Principles are set by WFTO members and are based on common Fair-Trade values, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions, human rights, and other internationally recognised principles.
Fair Wear’s mission is to create a world where the garment industry supports workers in realising their rights to safe, dignified, properly paid employment. They focus on garment production, specifically sewing, cutting, and trimming processes–the most labour-intensive parts of the supply chain.
Fair Wear works with 140+ member brands who are committed to finding fairer ways to make clothes. It engages directly with factories, trade unions, NGOs, and governments to find answers to problems others think are unsolvable.
A product may also be certified by the Fair Labour Standard by the Fair Labour Association, or the brand may have completed the SMETA Audit by Sedex in order to qualify for this criterion.
Since 2003, amfori BSCI has enabled companies to trade with purpose by improving social performance in their supply chain. Its strong code of conduct has 11 principles that support our members.
These range from fair remuneration to no child labour, and sit alongside a step-by-step approach that enables companies to monitor, engage, get empowered and receive support to put sustainable trade at the heart of their business.
BSR's HERproject™ is a collaborative initiative that strives to empower low-income women working in global supply chains. Bringing together global brands, their suppliers, and local NGOs, HERproject™ drives impact for women and business via workplace-based interventions on health, financial inclusion, and gender equality.
Since its inception in 2007, HERproject™ has worked in more than 850 workplaces across 14 countries and has increased the well-being, confidence, and economic potential of more than 1,000,000 women and 450,000 men.
4. Giving Back to the Planet
In 2002, Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, and Craig Mathews, founder of Blue Ribbon Flies, created 1% for the Planet and started a global movement. The idea is simple: because companies profit from the resources they take from the earth, they should protect those resources. We pair businesses and individuals with our approved environmental nonprofits, creating high-impact partnerships that amplify the impact of our members’ giving.