Many of our products hold accreditations verifying that they have originated from an environmentally or socially sound manufacturer. You may have noticed them under the Additional Information section on our product pages.
These are awarded by third-party auditors, following a thorough assessment of a business’s sustainable practices.
Accreditations are an important tool for authenticating sustainability claims, and represent a recognised indicator of good practice, but with so many auditors and certifications out there, we want to make it as easy as possible for you to identify the products which align with your values.
So if you don’t know your FSC from your BSCI, we’ve created this handy guide to demystify the world of ecolabels.
Though they don’t strictly qualify as accreditations, we have also included some member-based bodies, codes of conduct, and auditing frameworks held by our suppliers, which promote the adoption of better business practices and encouraging commitment to these.
Cocoa Horizons Foundation
The Cocoa Horizons Foundation is an independent non-profit, established to build self-sustaining farming communities. The purchase of Horizons cocoa, produced by the farmers benefiting from and engaged in the activities the Foundation supports, helps fund initiatives aimed at educating and empowering farming communities, eradicating child labour, and protecting the environment.
Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI)
Based on ILO labour standards, the ETI Base Code of Labour Practice contains nine clauses used to improve human rights in global supply chains. All member organisations agree to adopt the Base Code, working towards best practice in ethical trade.
Fair Labor Association (FLA) Accreditation
FLA Accreditation is a rigorous process that evaluates companies’ systems to protect workers throughout global supply chains.
FLA accredited organisations are verified to meet international standards for labour rights in their approach to human rights compliance and social responsibility. Companies are evaluated on an ongoing basis and must demonstrate continuous improvement in their efforts to address working conditions and protect workers’ rights.
Fairtrade is an ethical trade system that offers farmers and workers in developing countries a better deal for their efforts. On top of the price farmers and workers receive for their produce or labour, they receive a ‘Fairtrade Premium,’ an additional sum of money to invest in improving the quality of their lives.
When a product carries the Fairtrade logo, it means its producers and traders have met Fairtrade Standards designed to support the sustainable development of small-scale producers and agricultural workers in the poorest regions of the world.
Fair Wear Foundation is an independent, non-profit that, alongside their large member-base of fashion brands they, works to improve conditions for workers in garment factories.
Fair Wear’s Brand Performance Check allows members to evaluate and publicly report on their Human Rights Due Diligence efforts, and based on their overall score, they are placed into one of four categories:
- Leader: Scoring exceptionally well and operating on an advanced level, Leaders have made substantial progress in embedding and implementing human rights due diligence, especially strong risk assessments and remediation strategies. Leaders demonstrate responsible purchasing practices and demonstrate best practices in complex areas such as living wages and freedom of association. They also continuously review their internal processes and supply chain, regularly making improvements and adjustments.
- Good: Making a serious effort to implement the Code of Labour Practices, they have set up strong systems and policies and are well underway in implementing responsible purchasing practices. Member companies within the Good category are progressing towards meeting all Fair Wear membership requirements and engage in remediation efforts.
- Needs Improvement: Companies with internal issues preventing them from implementing necessary Fair Wear membership requirements, or that are unable to demonstrate sufficient improvement during the annual performance check. Member companies can only be placed in this category for one year, after which they need to earn a Good rating or face demotion to Suspended.
- Suspended: Members who have been in the ‘Needs Improvement’ category for more than 1 year without meeting the basic membership requirements, or that have seriously violated Fair Wear policies. After one year in this category, steps are taken to terminate the membership.
Created by Social Accountability International in 1997 as the first credible social certification, SA8000 protects over 2 million workers in over 4,000 certified facilities globally.
Certification to the standard requires workplaces to adopt a management-systems approach to social performance, conforming to criteria based on the principles of international human rights norms.
Measuring business performance across child labour, forced labour, health and safety, free association and collective bargaining, discrimination, disciplinary practices, working hours and compensation, maintaining SA8000 certification is underpinned by its emphasis on continual improvement.
Certification is granted after auditing by independent certification bodies, overseen by Social Accountability Accreditation Services (SAAS)
Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP)
WRAP is an independent certification program focused on the apparel, footwear, and sewn products sectors. Aimed at independently monitoring and certifying compliance with a range of standards the program ensures that work is conducted under safe, lawful, humane, and ethical conditions.
Primarily conducted by accredited third-party monitoring firms, WRAP certifications are granted to individual production facilities that manufacture these products, rather than holiding companies or brands.
WRAP issues three levels of certification based on a facility’s compliance with WRAP’s 12 Principles, based on generally accepted international workplace standards, local laws and workplace regulations.
Valid for 6 months, a Silver certification indicates substantial compliance with WRAP’s 12 Principles, but identifies minor non-compliances in policies, procedures, or training that must be addressed.
Gold certification is the standard WRAP certification level, awarded to facilities that demonstrate full compliance with WRAP’s 12 Principles, and is valid for 1 year.
Platinum is the highest certification level that can be attained, and is awarded to facilities that demonstrate full compliance with the 12 Principles for 3 consecutive audits. Platinum facilities, with no corrective actions required.
Better Cotton Initiative (BCI)
BCI exists to drive wider adoption of sustainably made cotton by creating demand for certified Better Cotton.
Devised by BCI and certified by independent third parties, the Better Cotton Standard System trains farmers to produce cotton in a way that is better for themselves, their communities, and the environment.
Accounting for 20% of global cotton production, Better Cotton is grown by over 2 million licensed farmers, guided by a comprehensive set of production principles and criteria for growing the crop in a more sustainable manner.
Better Cotton Farmers:
- minimise the harmful impact of crop protection practices
- use water efficiently and care for availability of water
- care for the health of the soil
- conserve natural habitats
- care for and preserve the quality of the fibre
- promote decent work
- operate an effective management system to enable continuous improvement
BCI offers membership to organisations throughout the value chain to drive adoption and availability of more sustainable cotton.
bluesign is a sustainability standard and certification for the production of textiles, which pays particular attention to aspects of chemical safety, in order to reduce the ecological footprint of the industry.
Their bluesign® standard analyses component products and chemicals, prior to production, based on their ecotoxicological impact, meaning potentially harmful substances can be eliminated. Their focus on the use of “best available technology” ensures that products meet environmental standards without cutting back on performance requirements.
Products that are processed at least 90% in Bluesign certified factories may bear the “bluesign product” seal
An international seal of quality managed by the European Commission for the labelling of consumer products and services, the EU Ecolabel certifies products with an independently verified low environmental impact.
The certification considers factors including climate impact, hazardous substances, health benefits, ethical and responsible production, reduced animal testing, quality and end of life.
To be awarded the EU Ecolabel, the entire life cycle is considered, from raw material extraction through production and distribution to disposal.
Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)
GOTS is a textile processing standard for organic fibres, including ecological and social criteria. The standard is backed up by independent certification of the entire textile supply chain, from harvesting of the raw materials, through environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing, up to labelling.
This chain of custody means that all entities and processes that a product passes through on its way to finishing must be certified for the product to bear the certification. This differs from similar certifications as this also covers environmental and social requirements such as the control of chemicals.
Third-party certification bodies regularly audit all parties involved in the manufacturing of GOTS-certified textiles through comprehensive on-site inspections, to verify that all GOTS requirements are met.
A textile product carrying the GOTS label must contain a minimum of 70% certified organic fibres, a product with the label and the grade ‘Organic’ must contain a minimum of 95% certified organic fibres.
OEKO-TEX Standard 100
The Standard 100 is an independent testing and certification system for textile materials and products. The standard certifies adherence to the specifications of the OEKO-TEX Association, aimed at limiting potentially harmful chemicals, and indicates that the content of those substances remains below established limits.
This independent certification may be applied to textile materials and products.
Organic Content Standard 100
Managed by Textile Exchange, the Organic Content Standard is a chain of custody standard with a tool for verification of a product’s organically grown content. To carry the OCS 100 badge, a product must contain more than 95% organic content.
Only material from certified organic farms is accepted to the OCS, with certification ensuring that the identity of the organic content is maintained, from farm to the final product.
Relying on third-party certification, an accredited body audits each stage in the supply chain.
Organic Blended Content Standard
Another Textile Exchange standard, products that carry The Organic Blended Content Standard badge are externally verified to contain between 5 and 94% organic material (excluding accessories & trims).
While the organic content varies widely, the goal of the OCS is to increase organic agriculture production. In line with our values, we favour products that blend organic with natural or recycled materials.
Recycled & Renewable Materials
Global Recycled Standard (GRS) and Recycled Claim Standard (RCS)
Both owned and managed by Textile Exchange, these standards, concerned with the use of recycled materials, are largely similar.
The standards exist to track input materials (via a chain of custody supported by certificates), and provide assurance that materials in a final product really are recycled. The minimum recycled content for a product to bear the corresponding badges are as follows:
- GRS: 50% and more
- RCS Blended: 5%-95%
- RCS 100: 90% and more
GRS is the more rigorous of the two standards, with a higher minimum content stipulation of 50%, and additional processing requirements (social, environmental, and chemical), that must be met.
For products such as electronics, regulations state that batteries and other internal components cannot use recycled materials, so these products may be eligible for RCS, but not GRS certification.
OK Biobased, managed and assessed by TÜV Austria, is a certification that is awarded based on the percentage of a product’s material content that is derived from living or once-living organisms (typically plants, agricultural byproducts or agricultural waste).
The investigation method behind the OK biobased certification allows the exact bio-content to be precisely measured. The percentage of renewable raw materials in the product are then certified using a four-star system:
- One-star biobased (20-40%)
- Two-star biobased (40-60%)
- Three-star biobased (60-80%)
- Four-star biobased (80%+)
Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) Certified
The FSC is dedicated to promoting responsible management of the world’s forests.
Their certification system, which covers more than 200 million hectares of forest, confirms that a forest is being managed in a way that preserves biological diversity and benefits the lives of local people and workers.
FSC-certified forests are managed to strict environmental, social and economic standards, based on 10 principles that must be adhered to. This enables businesses and consumers to choose wood, paper and other forest products made with materials that support responsible forestry.
All wood and forest-based materials in products bearing the FSC 100% label must be sourced from FSC-certified forests.
All forest-based materials in products bearing the FSC Mix label must either be from FSC-certified forests, verified as recycled or classed as controlled wood. Controlled wood is not from FSC-certified forests but it mitigates the risk of the material originating from unacceptable sources.
All forest-based materials in products or packaging bearing the FSC Recycled label have been verified as being 100% recycled (either post-consumer or pre-consumer reclaimed materials).
The FSC system has a separate chain of custody certification, tracking timber products from forest to finished item, to assure end users that a product is responsibly sourced.
Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC)
PEFC is a global alliance of national forest certification systems. Much like FSC, PEFC are dedicated to promoting sustainable forest management through independent third-party certification.
The PEFC label is used to identify with products that contain forest-based material from only PEFC-certified forests, managed in line with strict environmental, social and economic requirements.
As a chain of custody certification, it also protects the rights of workers along the production process.
Certified B Corporation (B Corp)
Verified by B Lab, a non-profit organisation dedicated to transforming the global economy, the B Corp certification means that a company meets extremely high standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.
To achieve certification, a company must:
- Demonstrate high social and environmental performance by achieving a B Impact Assessment score of 80 or above and passing our risk review. Multinational corporations must also meet baseline requirement standards.
- Make a legal commitment by changing their corporate governance structure to be accountable to all stakeholders, not just shareholders, and achieve benefit corporation status if available in their jurisdiction.
- Exhibit transparency by allowing information about their performance measured against B Lab’s standards to be publicly available on their B Corp profile on B Lab’s website.
B Corps need to re-certify every three years.
EcoVadis is a paid for service, offering comprehensive sustainability ratings that assess companies on their non-financial management systems, including Environmental, Labor & Human Rights, Ethics and Sustainable Procurement impacts.
Their rating system is trusted, with over 65,000 companies signing up for assessment to date. Each receives a score card based on the results of the evidence-based assessment, with four tiers based on their final score:
- Platinum – top 1% (overall score between 75 and 100)
- Gold – top 5% (overall score between 67 and 74)
- Silver – top 25% (overall score between 56 and 66)
- Bronze – top 50% (overall score between 47 and 55)
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) devised the 14001 standard to set out the criteria for an environmental management system that helps organisations improve their environmental performance. This is achieved through more efficient use of resources and reduction of waste.
The certification provides stakeholder assurance that environmental impact is being measured, and, valid for three years, necessitates continual improvement of an organisation’s systems and approach to environmental concerns.
While ISO does not perform certification, businesses are able to certify to standards like 14001 through independent auditors.
An ethical trade audit for members of SEDEX, the SMETA audit assesses the ethical standards of a business.
Conducted by independent affiliate auditors, the SMETA 2-Pillar audit is governed by the ETI Base Code and local laws and assesses Labour Standards and Health & Safety.
A more extensive SMETA 4-Pillar audit adds two additional requirements, assessing Business Ethics and Environmental management.
Global Traceable Down Standard (Global TDS)
Global TDS exists to ensure that down (soft feathers from a duck and goose under plumage) is not collected from birds that are live-plucked or force-fed at parent farms, which are audited to ensure animal welfare practices. The standard is managed by NSF International.
By using the standard, it is possible to transparently trace that down has come from a responsible source that respects and practices animal welfare. A fully audited and unbroken chain of custody ensures certified down is not contaminated with down from non-certified sources.
PeTA Approved Vegan
PeTA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) offers this certification scheme for businesses to confirm that a product is completely free from animal products.
Testing is not required for this certification, which is granted based on an application to PeTA, who assess this themselves.
Responsible Down Standard (RDS)
Managed by Textile Exchange, the RDS is an animal welfare standard concerned with the humane treatment of ducks and geese from which down is collected for use in products such as apparel.
Third party certification bodies assess each stage of the production process to certify the five freedoms of animal welfare are respected, and that the final product truly contains only certified down (100% certified down is necessary for a product to bear the RDS badge).
Like the Green Button certification for textiles, Blue Angel is an ecolabel owned and awarded by the German government. Reserved for products and services that are judged to be particularly environmentally friendly.
Applicable across a wide range of categories, more than 20,000 products and services from more than 1,600 companies have been awarded the Blue Angel. These have all been independently awarded, often with the involvement of the government.
The evaluation process considers the entire life cycle of the product to identify ways to reduce environmental concerns, even going as far as health-related aspects, such as low levels of pollutants and noise emissions.
Managed and assessed by TÜV Austria, the OK Compost Industrial label is awarded to products that will compost in industrial composting facilities (at temperatures between 55 to 60°C). This applies to all components, inks and additives.
It is important to note that OK Compost Industrial-certified should not go into the garden compost.
To qualify for the certification, must pass four tests on biodegradation, disintegration, ecotoxicity, and heavy metals content.