Why Certifications are Important
The Supply chain of the fashion industry is one of the most complex in the world with hundreds of hands involved in each tier. The process of creating one single piece of garment has an impact on social and environmental aspects.
It is important, nowadays, to create the lower impact as possible. As a European country that commits to the Paris agreement, the next years will be decisive and we will experiment with an increase of new laws related to sustainability, that all the companies including the fashion Industry should face . A clear example is a new law in France (1) that will be mandatory since next 1st January 2022: The EPR: Extended Producer Responsibility (Article 62 of the AGEC law of 10 February 2020): All products and activities subject to the Extended Producer Responsibility in France require the producer (person who develops, manufactures, handles, treats, sells or imports in France waste-generating products) a registration with an eco-organization as well as the payment of an eco-contribution.
To manage Sustainability in the fashion Industry exists Standards and Certifications.
According to Textile Exchange (2), a Standard is a set of defined requirements that are achieved to be awarded certification, and a Certification is a tool for companies to validate and communicate sustainability claims about their products.
Certifications in the Fashion Industry can be diversified according to the process: Fiber, Working Conditions, Chemicals used, Circularity... In the PDF Below from the Sustainable Angle (3), you will find the most relevant certifications, what covers each, the requirements and which SDG is aligned with.
But why certifications are so important?
Certifications in the fashion Industry allow the customers to be sure that the garment or service has been made under social and environmental standards and the claim of the company is valid, while at the same time contribute to creating an Industry aligned with sustainability goals.
Especially in the last years, we have been plunged more and more, into greenwashing campaigns. It seems every company has sustainable products or fabrics, but the reality is that even if the practice or material is ecologic, organic or sustainable, they should show the proof to avoid misunderstands.
Since a GOTS certification scandal came out some months ago with fake certifications in 20.000 tones of cotton from India last year (4) and also the force Labour Scandal in China simultaneously, some consumers have become skeptical of organic cotton and inherently of the concept of sustainability. A shoot in an Industry that just started to see the light to be able to start a new path.
My reflection is about whether some of these skeptical consumers are not actually angry about the fact, and so they can continue to look to the other side and avoid embedding sustainability in their lives without any kind of guilt. Any business and new practice has its tricks and far from justify the fake certifications, I do understand we should continue to focus in doing the right things and support sustainable fashion and practices that has credentials and certifications, and that does not compromise future generations.
1- Legifrance, Feb.11 2020, <https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/jorf/article_jo/JORFARTI000041553827>
2- TextileExchange, Certification to Textile Exchange Standards <https://textileexchange.org/standards/certification/>
3- The Sustainable Angle, Certification and Verification Bodies, <https://thesustainableangle.org/certification-and-verification-bodies/>
4- Global Organic textile Standart, GOTS detects evidence of Organic Cotton Fraud in India, 30th October 2020, <https://global-standard.org/news/gots-press-release-gots-detects-evidence-of-organic-cotton-fraud-in-india>