At Blacksmith, sustainable manufacturing involves reducing environmental impact, but also ethical human labor. This blog addresses five of the top sustainable manufacturing certifications (primarily for the apparel industry) that you should be aware of.
When it comes to sustainable manufacturing certifications there are two types – materials & labor. We will address both.
GOTS is the leading textile processing standard for organic fibers. The aim of this standard is to define worldwide, recognized requirements that ensure organic status of textiles – from harvesting of the raw materials, through environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing, and up to labeling in order to provide a credible assurance to the end consumer.
SAI is a code of conduct verification and factory certification program that enables manufacturers to demonstrate social compliance to buyers. Largely for apparel, textiles and manufacturing, it is the leading social certification for factories to have. It shows fair treatment of workers and abides by labor provisions within the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Labor Organization. It does not have a consumer-facing label.
WRAP is an independent, objective, non- profit team of global social compliance experts dedicated to promoting safe, lawful, humane and ethical manufacturing around the world through certification and education. WRAP certification is for the factories where goods are made, rather than the end product.
Fairtrade Foundation is about better prices, decent working conditions, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in developing countries around the world. If you meet the social, economic and environmental standards set out by Fairtrade International, you can trade under Fairtrade conditions and display the prestigious Fairtrade Mark on your products. Fairtrade Foundation works with small farmers, producers, and traders worldwide who meet strict standards. The Mark is only used on products certified in accordance with internationally agreed Fairtrade Standards. This certification aims to empower disadvantaged producers in developing countries by tackling injustice in conventional trade.
Materials + Labor Certification
Bluesign certification is one of the strictest safety/sustainability certifications that a factory or product can receive. By inserting themselves at every step in the supply chain—from chemical formulation to finished product— the Bluesign team ensures harmful chemicals are kept out of the manufacturing process. The Bluesign team includes experts in chemistry and textile production, as well as specialists who oversee a robust system of factory auditing and certification. If you take a walk around REI, you’ll notice the Bluesign hang tag on more and more products lately.
Blacksmith only partners with factories that have certified ethical labor practices like WRAP and/or SA8000. If you are looking for a factory or are already working with one, then be sure to ask them what certifications they have. Contact Us anytime for help sourcing and vetting sustainable factories.