As a result of the increasing popularity of sustainable alternatives, more and more brands use different kinds of environmental certifications for their products. As a consumer it can be a challenge to separate all of these certifications. It is also easy to be swayed by companies claiming to have sustainable products, just because they use 25% organic cotton or because they decreased their water consumption by 40%. Of course both of these initiatives are great – but none of them is a guarantee for an organic product. With this in mind, I would like to take a look at some of the different environmental certificates out there. First up is Oeko-Tex, which is a type of environmental certification focusing on the finished product. The aim is to exclude all harmful substances in products.
Keep in mind this is not an organic certification, so if you’re after organic cotton for example, you have to look for a different certification.
“The STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® is a worldwide consistent, independent testing and certification system for raw, semi-finished, and finished textile products at all processing levels, as well as accessory materials used. Examples of articles that can be certified: raw and dyed/finished yarns, woven and knitted fabrics, accessories, such as buttons, zip fasteners, sewing threads or labels, ready-made articles of various types (garments of all types, domestic and household textiles, bed linen, terry products and much more). On the basis of its comprehensive and strict catalogue of measures, with several hundred regulated individual substances, the STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® takes account of:
– Important legal regulations, such as banned Azo colourants, formaldehyde, pentachlorophenol, cadmium, nickel, etc.
– Numerous harmful chemicals, even if they are not yet legally regulated.
– Requirements of Annexes XVII and XIV of the European Chemicals Regulation REACH as well as of the ECHA SVHC Candidate List insofar as they are assessed by expert groups of the OEKO-TEX® Association to be relevant for fabrics, textiles, garments or accessories.
– Discussions and developments that are considered to be relevant are taken into account as quickly and effectively as possible through updates to the STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® requirements.
– Requirements from the US Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) regarding lead.
– Numerous also environmentally relevant substance classes
With its decades of experience, the OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 therefore contributes to high and effective product safety from a consumer’s point of view. Test criteria and limit values in many cases go far beyond applicable national and international standards. Extensive product checks and regular company audits also ensure that the industry has a globally sustainable awareness of the responsible use of chemicals. With this concept, the OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 has taken on a pioneering role for many years. The OEKO-TEX® tests for harmful substances are fundamentally based on the respective purpose of the textiles and materials. The more intensive the skin contact of a product and the more sensitive the skin, the stricter the human-ecological requirements that need to be complied with.
The precondition for the certification of products in accordance with OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 is that all parts of an article meet the required criteria – in addition to the outer fabric, for example, also the sewing threads, inserts, prints etc., as well as non-textile accessories, such as buttons, zip fasteners, rivets etc. Additional preconditions are the existence and application of operational quality assurance measures, as well as the legally binding signing of undertakings and conformity declarations by the applicant.”
Brands certified by Oeko-Tex are usually specialized in bed linen or kids clothing.
Below you will find a small selection of brands certified by Oeko-Tex.
KappAhl – Some products are certified
Calida – All products are certified
Monisieur Mini – All products are certified
Hemtex – Some products are certified