Summary: Fashion brands have to continually make efforts to come across as an entity that is doing meaningful and positive work for the community and the environment, along with its primary job of making wonderful products. One sure-shot way of achieving this feat is to go for a globally relevant certification, which tells the story of the brand in its own words.
Fashion brands are always on the lookout for finding new tools to further their reach and build credence in the minds of customers. In today’s complex world of business, fashion brands need more than mere good products and services. They have to continuously keep finding space in the mind of the customer. They have to keep striving to make the customer believe that the brand is serious about its commitment to people and the planet.
One impactful methodology for creating this mind space is to go for certifications. These certifications are more than mere stamps of approval. They show the customer that the brand is committed to a positive path that is inclusive in nature. It not only cares about the planet but is also mindful of the community, in which it operates.
There are numerous business certifications out there but here is a list of ten must-have certifications for any fashion brand.
Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) is a leading coalition of apparel, textile, and footwear manufacturers around the world. SAC was formed with a vision to create a manufacturing ecosystem that causes no environmental damage and has a net positive impact on the communities and people that are a part of the ecosystem. SAC develops the Higg index which is a suite of tools that help standardize supply chain sustainability measurements for all participants of the supply chain.
BCI certification is provided by Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) which happens to be the largest sustainability program in the world. BCI aims to transform cotton production across the globe by facilitating better exchanges of best practices. It also encourages the scaling up of collective action by the participants. Farmers receive proper training and development exercises through BCI and its partners when it comes to water usage, the health of the soil and natural habitats, etc.
Bluesign is an independent entity that provides solutions in areas of sustainable processing and manufacturing to fashion brands and industries. If a brand or manufacturer is desirous of bearing the Bluesign label, then they are required to act responsibly and sustainably concerning people, the environment, and other resources that are part of the manufacturing process.
There is a global program that earmarks the standards for the manufacturing of products in a manner that is safe and circular by nature. This program is called Cradle to Cradle (C2C) Certified Products program. Forward-looking designers, fashion brands, retailers, and manufacturers across the supply value chain use C2C certification to achieve optimization of resources and foster innovation.
Ecocert certification for a fashion brand or manufacturer guarantees that best practices are being used by the business entity when it comes to socially conscious practices which are also eco-friendly. Ecocert is the pioneer in organic textile certification and for more than two decades they have advocated the usage of raw materials of plant origin for the textile industry.
The Forrest Stewardship Council (FSC) is the torch bearer when it comes to forest certification. The primary vision of FSC is to promote practices that can set standards for the responsible management of forests. FSC galvanizes experts to give consultancy and advice to entrepreneurs. This business certificate is especially required for companies engaged in using bamboo etc as an alternative to polyester.
If a fashion brand or a manufacturer wants to come across as a business with sustainable purchasing decisions, then it should go for OEKO TEX and its portfolio of independent certifications that support fashion companies. Leather Standard and Standard 100 are certificates that are available for leather and textile products and give surety that the product has been tested for the usage of harmful chemicals and none were found.
The Global Organic Textile Standard or GOTS is a global certification that sets the benchmark for textile processing when it comes to the usage of organic fibers. The entire textile supply chain is audited and certified by independent experts and the standards include criteria on ecological and social factors. An on-site inspection is done while issuing the GOTS certification.
If an agricultural product gets produced using the methodology set by USDA, then it gets USDA organic certified. Annual reviews along with timely inspections are conducted to ensure that compliance with the standards is maintained. Any product which boasts of such a label is having a minimum of 95 percent content that is organic.
For the integrity of supply chains for the apparel, footwear, and sewn products sector, Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP) is the largest independent certification program globally. The apparel industry around the world recognizes WRAP certification as a sign of social compliance maintained by the brand.
With the fashion players under constant pressure to prove their sustainability efforts, investing in these business certificates shall reduce the need to reach out to stakeholders by other means to establish their credentials. To make the process inclusive, they should coax their suppliers to go for third-party certifications too. After all, good business should translate into better bottom lines.
1. Investing in certifications is a good way to streamline the system towards sustainable practices
2. Certification saves the company’s resources in communicating its commitment.
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