Nowadays, when buying a product it can be difficult to distinguish true ethical and sustainable claims from misleading false ones. Eco-friendly certifications are useful to avoid most greenwashing traps.
Multiple organizations have created standards and labels to fight misleading “green” claims. Most of these companies are independent and use third-party entities to complete checks and verifications.
Here are the 15 Sustainable Fashion Certifications and Labels you can trust.
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GOTS – Organic Textile Certification
Products GOTS Certified: Fibre, textiles, mattresses, and personal hygiene products
The Global Organic Textile Standard is an international textile label for organic fibers.
Since 2006, the label sets ecological and social criteria for organic fiber at all steps of production from manufacturing to distribution. The certification doesn’t verify the cultivation process for organic fibers. The verifications are made by an independent third-party entity.
GOTS certification bans the use of toxic chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides, and GMOs, and unethical practices such as child labor, unsafe working conditions, and precarious employment.
GOLS – Organic Latex Certification
Products GOLS Certified: Mattress & bedding products, gloves, bands, shoe soles, rubber toys, condoms
The Global Organic Latex Standard is an international textile certification for products made with organically grown latex.
Created by Control Union, the certification requires that a product contain a minimum of 95% of organic latex. GOLS implements rigorous inspection and regular audits from the harvest in the organic rubber plantations to the manufacture and distribution of the finished product.
GOLS standard limits the number of chemicals used in the production process.
GRS and RCS – Labels for Recycled Materials
Products GRS & RCS Certified: Recycled materials and textiles
The Recycled Claim Standard (RCS) and Global Recycled Standard (GRS) are labels globally recognized. They aim to improve the use of recycled materials and reduce pollution.
RCS and GRS’s objectives is to verify recycled content in products and to give consumers means to make informed decision for each purchases.
GRS is a more rigorous standard with a higher minimum content percentage (50%) and additional processing requirements (social, environmental, and chemical).
RWS – The Responsible Wool Standard
Products RWS Certified: Wool material
The Responsible Wool Standard (RWS) is an international voluntary standard for wool.
Created by the Textile Exchange, The Responsible Wool Standard’s mission is to better the welfare of sheep.
From wool farmers to sellers, every step of wool production is audited for certification. RWS farmers and ranchers must meet animal welfare, land management, and social requirements.
The sustainable label exists also for mohair (RMS) and alpaca (RAS) products.
Better Cotton Initiative – Responsibly Grown Cotton Certification
Products BCI Certified: Cotton material
Better Cotton Initiative is a non-profit organization that promotes better standards in cotton farming.
Today, Better Cotton labels 20% of the global cotton production across 24 countries. BCI’s mission is to help cotton communities survive and thrive while protecting and restoring the environment. In 2022, 2.2 million licensed farmers grew 4.7 million metric tonnes of Better Cotton.
This sustainable fashion certification guarantees the sustainability of the cotton produced.
Bluesign – Sustainable Textile Label
Products Bluesign Certified: Textile
Bluesign-labeled products meet strict safety and environmental requirements.
The Swiss label ensures:
- Responsible use of resources
- Highest level of consumer safety
- Reduced impact on people and the environment
This new sustainable fashion certification is popular in Europe.
OEKO-TEX – Label for Non-Toxic Textile
Products OEKO-TEX Certified: Textile and leather articles
Oeko Tex counts 6 different certifications:
- Made in green
- Standard 100
- Leather Standard
- Eco passport
- Responsible business
All the certifications have been created to ensure high safety standards for textile products.
OEKO-TEX Standard 100 is one of the world’s well-known labels for textiles tested for harmful substances.
This certification applies to all types of textiles, at any stage of production from raw material to finished product. The label carefully tests all the pieces of a product and checks for the presence of harmful substances. Independent testing entities are in charge of checking the toxicity of products. Every year, the criteria are updated with the latest regulated and non-regulated substances.
OEKO TEX is globally used as a trustworthy sustainable fashion certification.
EWG – The Non-Toxic Certification
Products EWG Certified: Cosmetics, personal care, textile, household product, food, and water
The Environmental Working Group certifies products that are non-toxic for human health and the environment.
Founded in 1993, EWG is focused on chemical safety and bans hazardous substances. The Group’s mission is to push companies to create safer and healthier products. On the EWG website, you can find many reports about substances proven to create allergies, fertility issues, and even cancers.
EWG certification means that a product went through the strictest checks for human health and was found safe to use and free from hazardous chemicals. The EWG label is an important sustainable fashion certification guaranteeing the safety of your apparel.
Made Safe – Certified Safe for Human Health and the Environment
Products Made Safe Certified: Apparel, baby and child items, bedding, cosmetics, household, intimate and personal care, and pets.
The Made Safe label certifies that a product is not toxic to human health or the environment.
Made Safe was created in 2014 by Nontoxic Certified, a non-profit organization.
Ingredients, manufacturing, and end-of-life disposal processes are reviewed by an independent third party. The final product should not contain any ingredients harmful to human health or the environment.
Currently, 6500 hazardous substances are banned from the Made Safe ingredient list.
The certification applies to apparel, baby and child items, bedding, cosmetics, household, intimate and personal care, and pet products. This is a very popular sustainable fashion certification.
Vegan Certified – Seal Guaranteeing Absence of Animal or Animal-Derived products
Products Vegan Certified: Cosmetics, personal care, textile, home furniture, food
The Certified Vegan Logo is a registered trademark for products that do not contain animal products or byproducts and that have not been tested on animals.
Banned ingredients include meat, fish, fowl, animal by-products, eggs, milk, honey, leather, fur, silk, and feather. Soil, fertilizer, or farming practices are not taken into account during the certification process. Currently, about 1000 companies are vegan-certified.
This sustainable fashion certification is ideal to determine if your clothes or shoes contain animal or animal-derived substances.
B Corporation – Certification for Social and Environmental Performance
Products B-Corp Certified: All industries
B Corporation is a label for transparency and social responsibility within a company.
B-Corp is an international certification ensuring that a business meets certain social and environmental standards such as employee benefit, transparency, or accountability.
Created in 2006, the organization counts today over 5,300 certified B Corps in over 83 countries.
The evaluation process includes a review of a company’s practices and policies with its workers, customers, community, and the environment. B Corporations are required to recertify every three years and to report progress on social and environmental engagement.
Fair Trade – Label for Sustainable and Equitable Trade
Products Fair Trade Certified: Textile and food
The Fair Trade certification is an international label certifying ethical practices (safe working conditions, fair prices, etc) to communities in developing countries. It also guarantees sustainable agriculture production.
Created in 1958, Fair Trade products are now available in more than 145 countries. Almost 2 million workers and farmers have worked in connection with the organization globally. Sustainable projects endorsed by Fair Trade help support local communities.
ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY PRACTICES
Forest Stewardship Council – Label for Sustainable Management of the World Forests
Products FSC Certified: All products with paper packaging.
FSC’s goal is to ensure the conservation and restoration of the world’s forests.
Founded in 1994, The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an international, independent, not-for-profit organization that promotes the social and environmental management of the world’s forests.
The FSC label can be found on an increasing number of products worldwide. Products with the FSC label meet standards for sustainability, legality, and traceability set by the FSC.
The FSC label is your guarantee that wood or paper comes from forests that are well-managed and legally harvested. In addition, forest workers benefit from ethical working conditions, and indigenous communities are involved in the management of their traditional lands.
Many beauty brands are improving their product packaging with recyclable or recycled materials. FSC is becoming more and more popular as a sustainable fashion certification.
Climate Neutral – Certification for Neutral Greenhouse Gas Emission
Products Climate Neutral Certified: All industries
Climate Neutral certification guarantees that a company has a neutral greenhouse gas emission balance.
Climate Neutral is a nonprofit organization working to eliminate carbon emissions. Companies must achieve the rigorous climate-neutral standard to receive the Climate Neutral Certified label. These 331 brands have become Climate Neutral Certified.
1% For The Planet – Certifies a Brand Gives Back to Environmental Causes
Products Certified 1% For The Planet: All industries
1% for the Planet guarantees that a company gives at least 1% of its sales profit to environmental causes.
It was created to prevent greenwashing by Patagonia’s founder. Today, members of the 1% for the Planet network have given over $435 million to 4,000 environmental organizations.