Best Organic & Sustainable Fashion Certifications To Embrace

Why you should care?

Choosing certified organic tees and pants means you help reduce pesticides use and support respectable farm wages.

by Richa Bhatia

As a consumer, it can be hard to shop sustainably when you don’t know what you’re supposed to be looking for in products. You might be squinting at all the labels on the box and wonder what all those seals of approval really mean.  We get how overwhelming it can be. It’s time to get clarity and learn the critical organic and sustainable fashion certifications. 

Kickstart Your Sustainable Journey

Understanding the basis of certifications and why a product received an approval is a great place to begin your sustainable purchasing journey. The best part is you may soon realize all the social good you’re doing every time you buy a new shirt from a company that is Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) or Bluesign Certified. We’re on a mission to help every person realize the awesome impact they have by making different better choices!

Why Do Brands Certify?

Certifications or seals of approval are meant to identify and award a company’s extra effort to adopt sustainable or ethical practices. Certifications consider manufacturing of the garment to selection of the fabric to waste management. And, there may be separate, multiple certifications for each step in the process. So, we understand why it can be quite confusing! Below, we outlined some of the most sought after clothing certifications for fashion brands. 

Most Common (and best) Sustainable Fashion Certifications

GOTS

GOTS or Global Organic Textile Standard / Certified Organic Cotton aims to ensure the organic status of textiles are environmentally and socially responsible. The certification process reviews (1) textile processing and manufacturing; (2) wet processing and finishing operations; and (3) trading operations. To qualify, the textile must contain at least 70% organic fibers. 

USDA organic

USDA or US Department of Agriculture Certification requires production with only certain legally allowed materials and processed with organic and natural methods. To receive a USDA certification, a business must adopt organic practices, work with a USDA accredited certifying agent, and include lab tested and approved products. The final certification will specify the proportion of organic content in the seal placed on the product. 

Fair-trade logo

The Fair-Trade seal certifies a fair process for farmers and workers, indicating a fair market price was offered to farmers and workers who produced the coffee, cocoa, or tea. Businesses receive certification if they pass a special detailed business operations and supply chain assessment.

Bluesign logo

Bluesign Certified is a Swiss company working to ensure products are manufactured with the highest degree of safety for consumers. The certification process reviews and guarantees the manufacturing process maintains the lowest possible impact on people and the environment. Businesses must provide all relevant information, show transparency, and provide traceability in all its production steps: from sourcing the raw materials to final manufacturing of the finished product.

Organic cotton certified logo

OCS or Organic Cotton Certified is a voluntary standard with two types of certifications. The first type, OCS 100 certificate, reviews products that contain at least 95% organic materials. The second, OCS Blended, reviews products with a minimum of 5% organic materials blended with other non-organic materials. To receive OCS certification, a company must show the amount of organic material used in the final product. This is verified by reviewing a business’ entire supply chain, from sourcing, manufacturing, and production.

Global Recycle standard logo

Recycled Claim Standard or Global Recycled Standard certifies that the finished product includes recycled materials. This covers processing, manufacturing, packaging, labeling, trading and distribution of all products made with a minimum of 20% recycled material. They also set requirements for third-party certification of recycled content, chain of custody, social and environmental practices, and chemical restrictions.

Top Certified Sustainable Fashion Brands

  • PACT ApparelBronze Giveback Medal
    PACT Apparel makes non-GMO organic cotton clothing in a transparent supply chain. Fair-Trade and GOTS Certified Organic Cotton. 

  • Alternative ApparelBronze Giveback Medal, Rising Star Sustainable Medal
    Alternative Apparel uses proprietary fabrics and specialty washes to make one-of-a-kind pieces. GOTS Certified Organic Cotton.

  • Known Supply Gold Giveback Medal
    Known Supply works with under served populations to provide meaningful work and show the powerful impact our clothing purchases can have if made thoughtfully. Fair-Trade Certified. 

The brands below are “Currently Being Assessed” because we discovered them after our last annual assessment. But, we love what they are about and just had to share.

  • Organic BasicsCurrently Being Assessed
    Organic Basics chooses fabrics that care for the environment and partner with ethical and responsible factories. GOTS Certified Organic Cotton and GRS Certified.
  • Mate the Label Currently Being Assessed
    MATE makes sustainable clothing in Los Angeles and uses non-toxic, natural, and certified organic materials. GOTS Certified Organic Cotton.

For more sustainable clothing brands, check out our Top 10 Sustainable Sweatpants for your next Zoom Call

Keywords: sustainable brands; certifications; GOTS; ecofriendly; alternative apparel, organic cotton; cotton; organic basics; pact; pact apparel; mate the label; sustainable clothing brands; Known Supply; USDA organic; cotton; organic and sustainable fashion certifications

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