MADE IN GREEN By OEKO-TEX®: For A More Sustainable Textile Industry

Sponsored by OEKO-TEX®

We can already clearly see today that our actions and our lifestyles are impacting our planet and our fellow human beings. Over the past 50 years, the average temperature has increased at the fastest rate since systematic record-keeping began. The greatest global challenges also relate to energy, more specifically, to our total energy consumption and our reliance on fossil fuels. The way that we interact with our environment is also resulting in rising sea levels, more and more extreme weather events, flooding, periods of drought, and storms.

In this context, the textile industry, along with the oil and automotive industries, makes a significant contribution to changing our environment. Harmful chemicals in rivers and seas and a dwindling supply of water are just some of the effects that are already clearly manifesting themselves. It is equally important to assume social responsibility for the people who produce our textiles on a daily basis. Therefore, it is all the more imperative for manufacturers, merchants, and consumers to pay even more attention to sustainability.

Greater awareness when choosing textiles

A study entitled “The Key to Confidence” that OEKO-TEX® carried out together with the market research firm Anerca International shows that the awareness of and the need for greater transparency within the textile industry is already growing. The study surveyed more than 11,000 consumers of clothing and home textiles around the globe about sustainability issues.

The results show, among other things, that 4 out of 5 people consider climate change to be a real and worrying problem and that the textile industry is perceived as one of the major environmental sinners. Some 66 percent of survey participants also stated that they wanted to help find solutions to these problems. Almost the same percentage set great store by the product safety of their textiles and environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing.

MADE IN GREEN – the label for sustainably produced textiles

One solution to this issue is the MADE IN GREEN by OEKO-TEX® label. MADE IN GREEN designates consumer products and semi-finished products from all stages of processing in the textile value chain. These products have not only been thoroughly tested for hazardous substances, but have also been manufactured in environmentally friendly facilities and under socially fair working conditions.

MADE IN GREEN gives consumers a great way of opting for products that are made in a sustainable and socially fair manner at the point of sale.

Brands, manufacturers, and merchants also have the chance to highlight their commitment to sustainability to their consumers right on the product thanks to MADE IN GREEN.

“Sustainability is our future,” said Georg Dieners, general secretary of the OEKO-TEX® Association. “It is only by making sustainable buying decisions that we can bring about change. We want to help consumers make a good choice for themselves, their fellow humans, and our environment with MADE IN GREEN,” remarked Dieners.

The added value of MADE IN GREEN also lies in the fact that it uses an unambiguous product ID or QR code on the label, providing full transparency about the manufacturing route taken by a textile product bearing this designation: from yarn to the finished consumer product.

Six out of ten people want their textiles to be free of harmful substances

Testing textiles in accordance with STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® is part and parcel of the MADE IN GREEN label. Textile products may only bear the STANDARD 100 label if all elements meet the required testing criteria set forth by the OEKO-TEX® Association and thus help bring about high and effective consumer protection in terms of potentially harmful substances. This includes accessories, such as studs, buttons, zippers, and linings.

Products bearing the STANDARD 100 or MADE IN GREEN label have been thoroughly tested for harmful substances using the strict OEKO-TEX® catalog of criteria.

Testing criteria used by the OEKO-TEX® Association are binding around the globe and are modified annually to reflect the latest insights. As a whole, they far exceed national legislation so they enhance transparency and comparability given varying specifications about harmful substances and environmental standards in producing countries.

The more intensively a product comes into contact with the skin, the more stringent are the requirements that must be met. Consequently, the strictest limit values of the entire testing system apply to baby items (OEKO-TEX® product class I), followed by garments worn close to the skin (product class II, e.g., underwear and over-garments), products without direct skin contact (product class III, e.g., coats and jackets) and furnishing materials (product class IV, e.g., curtains and table linens).

Independent, environmentally friendly, and socially responsible

Environmentally friendly manufacturing processes and socially responsible working conditions at participating facilities are documented for MADE IN GREEN using the thorough STeP by OEKO-TEX® certification process. STeP stands for Sustainable Textile and Leather Production.

STeP certification can be issued for all facilities in the textile chain — from spinning mills to the clothing industry, including manufacturers of foam and textile logistics firms. In essence, STeP meets companies where they are when it comes to sustainability.

If the business has put in place certificates and management systems, such as ISO standard 14001 and OHSAS certification 18001, there is less red tape involved in the STeP certification process. After all, OEKO-TEX® recognizes the steps that have already been taken. Its holistic approach and full checks of all relevant areas of the company make STeP worthwhile for companies that already embrace sustainable business in part because no extra time and effort is needed. Around the globe, 271 companies from all stages of the manufacturing process are already certified in accordance with STeP.

Their sustainability performance is displayed on the STeP certificate using a three-stage scoring system. To reach entry level 1, businesses have to answer at least 70 percent of the assessment’s entry-level questions. Level 2 shows good implementation of the required environmental and social criteria. Level 3 certifies exemplary implementation as a best practice example.

Businesses certified in accordance with STeP can display their commitment in their environmental reports or demonstrate it to customers as evidence of their dedication to sustainability. Moreover, the scoring system, combined with the audit report issued by OEKO-TEX®, gives businesses specific tips about areas in which there is additional potential for optimization and serves as the foundation for setting sustainability goals. Day after day, OEKO-TEX® works with passion and technical expertise to make sure that these goals are met and implemented.

Sponsored by OEKO-TEX® 2019