Important Certifications for finding sustainable fashion, worldwide

sustainable fashion certifications

In today’s global fashion industry, where the impacts of climate change and unethical practices are becoming increasingly evident, consumers hold immense power in making sustainable choices. Understanding the various certifications that authenticate sustainable fashion is crucial for conscientious shoppers. Across North America, Europe, and the Asia Pacific region, a multitude of certifications have emerged, each with its unique set of standards and criteria.

These certifications provide consumers with assurance that the garments they purchase have been produced in an environmentally friendly and socially responsible manner. By familiarizing yourself with these certifications, you can empower yourself to make informed decisions, supporting brands that align with your values. Let’s delve into the world of sustainable fashion certifications across these regions and explore how they contribute to a more ethical and eco-conscious industry.

Globally Recognized Certifications

There are certifications that are global players. Recognized by consumers in nearly every country, you can rest assured that brands who successfully attain these certifications are reliable and trustworthy.

OEKO-TEX Standard 100

This standard checks textile articles for harmful substances. When you find this label, you don’t need to worry. The clothing is not harmful to human health.

The standard is divided into 4 product classes, with product class 1 having the strictest requirements to pass, as this class is for textiles that will be used for babies. Product class 4 is least strict. Decoration and textiles used for furniture are classified here.

How can you check the validity of the certification? According to OEKO-TEX instructions, you can type in the label number on their website.

Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)

GOTS focuses on organic fibres and spans over the whole supply chain. The goal, as GOTS describes it on their website is to get rid of greenwashing by improving transparency and accountability at each level in the supply chain.

On their website you can access their database to check and confirm if suppliers are GOTS certified.


Bluesign® splits it approach to environmental and socially responsible impact across chemical suppliers, manufacturers and brands and retailers. Each part of the supply chain has specialized solutions and certification requirements.

In their guide you can search and find their partners. The database is organized conveniently by country, textile type or you can directly search specific companies.

Cradle to Cradle Certified®

Here we are looking at a certification that combines innovation, science and sustainability. Instead of trying to avoid harmful new chemicals and using only natural fabrics, Cradle to Cradle Certified® goes one step further and supports the textile supply chain in developing new solutions.

And here the system already starts at the product design. Before even the first material is processed to manufacture something, the design decides if the product can be truly circular.

On their website you can search for certified products and learn more about the different versions of the standard.

Important in Europe

Nordic Swan Ecolabel

This label focuses exclusively on manufacturers in the Nordic region: Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Finland and Denmark. The criteria for a successful application are very strict and can be read in their criteria overview. Not only clothing is covered but a wide range of products and services.

Blauer Engel

Introduced in 1978 this label has very high reputation among consumers in Germany. It is a comprehensive label that covers a wide range of product categories, not only textiles. Their website makes it easy to search and find certified products and companies.

Soil Association Organic

Based in the UK, the association is also a certification body for GOTS (see above). Founded in 1946 the charity has long history and valuable experience in making lifestyles more sustainable. You can check the certification status of companies with their search.

EU Eco Label

The label is a special badge that shows a product or service is good for the environment. They look at every step of a product’s life, like where the materials come from, how it’s made, and what happens to it after we’re done using it. When you see the flower logo, it means that product is kinder to our planet. Very interesting: the label can also be granted for accommodations. So if you plan to travel and want to check eco friendly places to stay you can check their search engine.

Important in the USA

USDA Certified Organic

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has different grades and standards for different categories. Regarding clothing the “Organic” standard is important. If fibers are certified as organic, this can be used in marketing, while the % of organic fibers needs to be disclosed. An exception are clothes that are already GOTS compliant (see above): these are allowed to be labelled as organic.

Fair Trade Certified

This US focused label allows producers and traders to get certified for their fair business practices. Not only to improve the environmental impact but especially the socioeconomic dynamics in supply chains. Their minimum prices for products, for example, are publicly available and aim to give all members a fair share for their contributions to a product.

B Corp Certification

B Corps are truly remarkable businesses that go the extra mile to make a difference in the world. Their certifications speak volumes about their genuine commitment to social and environmental responsibility. These companies undergo a thorough evaluation process that looks at various aspects of their operations. You can check this database to find B Corps.

For instance, they are assessed on how well they treat their workers, ensuring fair wages, safe working conditions, and opportunities for growth. They are also evaluated on their impact on the community, such as supporting local initiatives or donating a portion of their profits to charitable causes.

Additionally, B Corps are scrutinized for their efforts in reducing their environmental footprint, whether it’s through sustainable sourcing, energy-efficient practices, or waste reduction strategies. By achieving B Corp certification, these businesses prove that they are not just about making money, but also about making a positive impact on people and the planet. Their certification badge becomes a trusted symbol for individuals who want to support companies that truly care about the world we live in.

Important in Asia-Pacific

China Organic Certification

Responsible for managing this program is the government. It covers not only textiles but also agriculture and the goal is to certify organic products that are sold in the Chinese market. It is possible for companies outside of China to get certified and then import their organic labelled products for sale.

Korea Eco-Label

The program for certification is managed by the Korean ministry of environment. It covers, similar to other government run programs, a wide range of industries and products. The growth of participating companies is impressive.

Japan Organic Cotton Association (JOCA)

JOCA is an incredible organization that’s all about promoting and supporting the production of organic cotton in Japan. Their main focus is on sustainability, and they do a fantastic job of certifying and labeling organic cotton products to ensure they’re legit and top-notch quality.

JOCA is really passionate about research and development, always pushing for new and innovative techniques in organic cotton farming while promoting eco-friendly practices. They also work closely with farmers, manufacturers, and retailers to spread the word about the awesome benefits of organic cotton and create a more sustainable textile industry in Japan.

Posted in