Over the past decade, the concept of sustainability has gained more traction among consumers and companies. With growing concerns over climate change, customers wanting to make eco-friendly decisions, and the commitment of companies to be more eco-friendly, the term sustainability has been thrown around now more than ever.
But how can you distinguish whether one company is actually committed to sustainability while another might simply be using it as a marketing tactic? In the textile industry, the OEKO TEX MADE IN GREEN CERTIFICATION has become a standard for consumers and companies that want to participate in a sustainable future.
Let’s take a closer look at what this certification means and how it helps to empower you, the consumer, as you shop for eco-friendly clothing, eco-friendly bedding, and other environmentally conscious textiles and products.
Textile Industry Leader in Harmful Carbon Emissions
According to the data collection agency, Frontiers in Environmental Sciences, the apparel and footwear industry is a leader in global carbon emissions, generating anywhere from 8 to 10% of global emissions. This rate is higher than the aviation and shipping industries' carbon footprint combined.
The rise of fast fashion and popular retailers engaging in fast fashion has largely contributed to the wasteful and harmful impact the textile industry has had worldwide. In an effort to combat these harmful global effects, OEKO TEX MADE IN GREEN CERTIFICATION was established as a means for sustainably conscious consumers to shop with confidence, knowing that their textiles are ethically sourced, manufactured, and distributed.
What Does This Certification Mean?
OEKO TEX MADE IN GREEN CERTIFICATION focuses on three components:
Each component is critical to contributing to a cleaner environment where consumers can make sound choices in their product purchases. Additionally, consumers are empowered to learn more about where and how their textiles are made in an effort to become economically, socially, and sustainably sound consumers.
One primary goal of the OEKO TEX MADE IN GREEN CERTIFICATION is to ensure that consumers participate in a global marketplace that does not contribute to unnecessary carbon emissions. Sustainably conscious brands, including those with the OEKO TEX MADE IN GREEN CERTIFICATION, do not simply focus on being eco-friendly. Rather, they are committed to empowering consumers with knowledge of where all parts of their textiles are sourced, how they are manufactured, and what, if any, chemicals are used during the production process.
In the world of sustainability, safety is a top priority for all parties involved. This certification ensures that all brands that meet the OEKO TEX MADE IN GREEN CERTIFICATION do not engage in forced child labor or other international labor law violations and that all workers are treated fairly, ethically, and humanely.
These efforts include providing safe working conditions for all workers involved in every step of the supply chain. The safety of consumers is also a top priority as well. This certification ensures that no harmful products are used during the production or distribution of textiles. Before being made available to consumers, all textiles that fall under this certification are tested for toxic substances, including pesticides, heavy metals, nickel, lead, and other harmful chemicals.
Finally, this certification holds transparency in high regard by empowering consumers to know how their textiles were produced. Using the Made in Green Map, consumers can see where each component of their clothing or other textiles is sourced, where they were manufactured, and the manner in which they were assembled and distributed.
On the path to sustainability, transparency is essential because it allows consumers to see every step of the supply chain. The certification is committed to ensuring that consumers are never left in the dark about where a product's materials were sourced and who took part in putting that textile together.
What Types of Textiles Can Meet the OEKO TEX MADE IN GREEN CERTIFICATION?
Any and all textiles can qualify for the OEKO TEX MADE IN GREEN CERTIFICATION. If you’re still hesitant about shopping for sustainable textiles, it can help to start in a very intentional way. Below are some of the aspects of your life where you should consider using sustainable source textiles.
Young children can be incredibly sensitive to irritants found on their clothing or other fabrics that they encounter throughout the day. Shopping for sustainably sourced children's clothing ensures that your child does not come in contact with harmful chemicals that can leach out of clothing. Chemicals like nickel and lead can cause skin irritation, exacerbate skin allergies, and cause other harmful health issues.
Sustainable Bedding Material
Using duvet covers and cotton sheet sets that are responsibly sourced can help you to avoid unsuspecting harm to your skin and overall health as you sleep. Bedding that is contaminated with harmful chemicals or made out of harsh fabrics can lead to unpleasant sleep that might develop into health issues down the road. The importance of getting a good night's rest is one of the leading reasons why shopping for environmentally friendly bed linen and eco-friendly bedding is a good choice.
Shopping products that meet the OEKO TEX MADE IN GREEN CERTIFICATION ensures you are getting sustainable bedding and eco-friendly sheets that will contribute to better health and better sleep.
At Southshore Fine Linens, we are pleased to offer a full range of sustainable bedding. Visit our website to learn about different bedding types, including what’s a duvet cover vs. a comforter, and more.
Products That Use Textiles
Children's toys, purses and shoes, and other products incorporating textiles can be another excellent starting place for shopping with sustainability in mind. Any product that incorporates textiles, whether it be fabric or leather, can participate in being a sustainably sourced product. However, it lies with the consumer to search whether a brand is ethically sourcing its raw materials and producing and distributing those materials with sustainability in mind.
Tracking Your Product
The OEKO TEX MADE IN GREEN CERTIFICATION makes it easy to track where the components of your textiles were made. Using the product code or QR code included in your product's label allows you to assess every point of the supply chain. From sourcing the material to the worker's involvement to the distribution—all the way up to the final product—consumers are empowered to track the history of their product.
It's this level of transparency that allows certified products to meet the highest standards of sustainability. With this tracking ability, consumers are empowered to know the following:
- Whether their products were made in an environmentally friendly, sustainable way
- Access to a transparent and traceable supply chain
- Who the raw material supplier is
- How the raw material is spun
- The process of weaving, knitting, and dying the textile
- The manufacturing of any included accessories like buttons or zippers
- Cutting and Sewing of the final product
Benefits of Shopping Sustainably Sourced Textiles
The benefits of shopping for sustainably sourced textiles go beyond just a cleaner, greener environment. On a personal level, you can be certain you are purchasing products that have been made with the highest degree of ethics and care.
Shopping products that meet the high standards of this sustainability certification also ensures you're getting a quality product that will last you for years to come. Unlike fast fashion textiles, you should not expect regular wear and tear to damage the overall integrity of your clothing or bedding.
Finally, shopping for sustainable textiles ensures that you are using safe products that are free of harmful toxins and chemicals. Products that are not ethically sourced or manufactured can suffer from lead and nickel contamination, toxins that can be harmful to your health if they seep out of your clothing and onto your skin.
Make Informed Decisions
Knowledge is power, and when you know more about the clothing you wear and how your products are sourced, manufactured, and distributed, you'll be able to make sound decisions as an environmentally conscious consumer.
The next time you shop sustainable products, keep an eye out for the OEKO TEX MADE IN GREEN CERTIFICATION and learn more about the clothing you wear, the products you use, and the bedding you sleep on.
At Southshore Fine Linens, we are proud to offer bedding sets, linens, and more that meet the OEKO TEX MADE IN GREEN CERTIFICATION. Shop our collection today and do your part for a sustainable future.
International Labor Standards. (2023).
Leal Filho, W.,et al. (2022). An overview of the contribution of the textiles sector to climate change.
OEKO-TEX® MADE IN GREEN. (2023).OEKO - TEX Label Check, (2023).