Ethical and Social Sustainability: Certifications and Beyond (4/4)

Welcome to part 4 in my series on Sustainable Fashion, looking into the environmental and social aspects of manufacturing and production. So you took my advice from my last post on social and ethical sustainability, and spent some time researching your favorite clothing company. Maybe you found a lot of information, or maybe you didn’t find much. But how do you know what certifications are good, or worthwhile? Here I’m listing out the most common and easily attainable certifications, so the brands you shop at should at least have one or a few of these. Trust me, if they utilize any of these, it will be proudly displayed on their websites.

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Mill/Factory Certifications

WRAP-–Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production 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. Read more about the 12 principles here.

FairTrade—engages textile manufacturers (mills) and workers in the supply chain to bring about better wages and working conditions, and engages brands to commit to fair terms of trade.

SA8000—is the leading social certification standard for factories and organizations across the globe. It also respects, complements and supports national labor laws around the world, and currently helps secure ethical working conditions for two million workers.

Textile/Material Certifications (these are more environmental but still good to have)

OEKO-TEX-–All types of textiles that have been tested for harmful substances, from yarns to the finished product, may bear the STANDARD 100 product label.

FSC-Certified— Forest Stewardship Council is the “gold standard” designation for wood harvested from forests that are responsibly managed, socially beneficial, environmentally conscious, and economically viable.

Better Cotton Initiative or BCI—is the largest cotton sustainability program in the world. BCI exists to make global cotton production better for the people who produce it, better for the environment it grows in and better for the sector’s future.

Social Compliance

Nest—building a new handworker economy to increase global workforce inclusivity, improve women’s wellbeing beyond factories, and preserve important cultural traditions around the world. Look for companies who have a special online shop featuring local artisans and craftspeople, like Madewell and West Elm.

Certified B Corp—Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corps are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.

There are dozens more where those came from, so I encourage you once again to do some research into factory and garment certifications so you can shop better. I would also encourage you to continue down this ‘sustainable fashion’ path. I know I will continue to post about sustainable brands and eventually, shifting into a ‘Nothing New’ wardrobe. I’ve already started buying a few things second hand and reselling my own clothes on Poshmark.

Finally, here are some resources I’ve personally found or been recommended by a friend to deepen my understanding of sustainable fashion and the ways I can change my lifestyle.

Books

The Conscious Closet by Elizabeth L. Cline

Fashionopolis: The Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothes by Dana Thomas

Videos

The Ugly Truth of Fast Fashion, Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj (Netflix)

How to Engage with Ethical Fashion, TEDTalk with Clara Vuletich

The True Cost, free on Tubi

Instagram Accounts To Follow

Live with Less

Cut the Waste

Sustainable Elle

JHÁNNEU

Sustain Yo’self

Sincerely,

Sara Ann

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