We are working on an overview of different standards for sustainable fabrics. This should help to identify similarities and differences as well as strengths and weaknesses of the different standards. It could also provide starting points for further improvement.
If you are looking for the standards for fabrics sold on interloom, please find our minimum criteria for fabrics here.
Worth knowing and discussing:
- Organic cotton does only mean that the fibers are certified organic. The whole further production is generally conventional if not labelled as GOTS or other.
- The term organic may only be used for natural fibers such as, for example, cotton or wool. It cannot be used for recycled fibers.
- Fairtrade cotton does not mean that the workers receive fair wages. The fairtrade standards only apply to the farmers. The further production chain does only need to work according the ILO standard.
- GM cotton seed is not allowed but it is not tested.
- The fairtrade label is only available for cotton, not for silk, hemp, linen and other fibers.
- Fairtrade cotton is often organic, but does not have to be organic.
- GOTS is given for different production steps. Often “only” GOTS-certified yarn is used but the further production steps (e.g. weaving unit, traders) are not GOTS-certified. In this case the final product may not be GOTS-certified.
- In order to use the GOTS-label on the final product, your manufacturing units have to be GOTS-certified, too.
- GOTS-certified units are inspected once a year.
- The GOTS label may only be used for products made of natural fibers, not for recycled fibers.
- The IVN standard is slightly higher than the GOTS standard.
- GOTS certified units are inspected once a year.
- The IVN label may only be used for products made of natural fibers, not recycled fibers.
- The GRS does not mean that the fabric can be recycled but it is made of recycled fibers.
- The GRS allows recycled fibers certified by third-parties or governments according to private or government standards such as the SCS Recycled Content Certification or the Greenmark program.
- It is differentiated between pre-consumer and post-consumer recycling.
- All entities along the supply chain have to be certified according to GRS.
- Transaction certificates are used to certify the products.
- The products are not tested for health.
- There are four very different levels of C2C.
- The C2C standard may be used for natural as well as recycled fibers.
ILO main criteria:
- No child labor
- No forced labor
- Health and safety
- Freedom of association and collective bargaining
- No discrimination
- No harassment
- No excessive working hours
- It is possible to have one product certified according to multiple standards.
- An example is a fabric made of organic AND fairtrade certified cotton AND being GOTS certified
- The more certificates a product has, the more standards the product complies with, but also the more costly it become.
What is important from your point of view? We constantly try to improve this overview and are thankful to all comments, suggestions, ideas. So please feel free to start the conversation and leave a comment below!