Eco, sustainable, correct: What do these labels really mean?

by tine sintermann on June 14, 2021

As a conscious consumer, you want to buy good products. "Good" is no longer just the quality of a product, it also refers to the social and ecological standards under which it was produced. This is controlled by many different organizations, which then award corresponding certificates. We show you some of the most important labels. 

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) 

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) label ensures that the products contain wood, wood products and paper are from responsibly harvested and verified forests that meet demanding environmental, social and economical standards. The label is awarded worldwide by FSC-accredited organizations. FSC certification is available for the forestry itself, the product chain or the products. FSC has been in existence since 1993, and its underlying principles include compliance with applicable laws, maintenance or improvement of working conditions, protection of indigenous peoples, and low environmental impact.

 

The Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex 

The Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex is a globally awarded certificate for textiles without harmful substances. It covers both banned and approved substances that nevertheless pose a risk to health. Oeko-Tex certifies raw textile materials, clothing and bedding, and intermediate and final products such as yarn, fabric and sewing threads. The materials are also tested for a skin-friendly pH value and for color fastness. In order for the products to bear the label, all components must meet the criteria, including buttons and zippers. Not only the products themselves are tested, but also the manufacturers. Oeko-Tex Standard 100plus identifies textiles that have not only been successfully tested for possible harmful substances, but have also been manufactured in an environmentally friendly and socially responsible manner. The Made in Green label is also awarded by Oeko-Tex and includes the supply chain.

 

Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) 

The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certificate applies to natural and recycled fibers. It bans many chemicals and sets minimum social standards. It stands for strict ecological criteria in the entire production chain ("from field to fashion"). The GOTS certificate applies to all stages of production, transport and use of textiles. Manufacturers must be socially responsible and comply with certain standards for workers. In principle, all products bearing the GOTS certificate must consist of at least 70 percent organically produced natural fibers. Substances that are hazardous to health are prohibited, as are genetically modified organisms and accessories made of PVC, nickel or chrome.

 

The International Fairtrade Certification Mark 

The International Fairtrade Certification Mark is one of the best-known certificates in the world. It is awarded for foodstuffs and guarantees that trade relations between producers and buyers are regulated fairly. This means, for example, that small farmers receive a cost-covering price for their goods, even if world market prices fluctuate. The working conditions of employees are also safeguarded to a certain extent. For example, child labor and forced labor are prohibited, and employees must have access to drinking water and medical care. Certain pesticides are banned in production, and organic farming is rewarded. But not all products with the Fairtrade certificate are necessarily organic.

 

Responsible Down Standard (RDS)

The Responsible Down Standard (RDS) is a recognized and global standard for down and feathers from responsible animal husbandry without animal cruelty. The label was founded in 2013 as a result of animal welfare campaigns by the outdoor brand The North Face. Under this label, manufacturers and animal welfare initiatives interact and set minimum standards for down sourcing. Animals must be kept humanely and ethically. Forced feeding and live plucking are prohibited. Only products with 100 percent certified down may carry the RDS logo.

 

EU Ecolabel

The EU Ecolabel is an environmental certificate of the EU for certain regulations within the EU, they are quasi ecological minimum requirements. Products are certified that have a lower ecological impact than other products. The production must be sustainable and under ecological aspects, social aspects like working conditions are not considered. The EU Ecolabel is awarded for paints and varnishes, furniture, mattresses and floor coverings.The individual countries test and certify with the EU Ecolabel, but can also apply their own, stricter labels (in Germany, for example, this is the Blue Angel). 

 

natureplus 

The natureplus label is a certificate for sustainability in construction. It is awarded by the association of the same name. Among other things, it applies to windows, doors, floors and insulating materials. The products must not be harmful to health or the environment, either during manufacture or in use. Other criteria include the extensive avoidance of the use of pesticides, chemicals and artificial fertilizers. It excludes products from overexploitation or unsustainable plantation management. The certificate also has a social aspect, as fair working conditions and a ban on child labor are also prerequisites for the award.

 

EuroLATEX 

EuroLATEX is the representative body of all major European producers of latex foam components for the bedding and the upholstered furniture industry. The association was founded in 1990 by eight members to act as an intermediary between the industry and the EU authorities. EuroLATEX verifies the absence of harmful substances such as heavy metals, nitrosamines, pesticides, solvents and volatile organic components. In addition, storage, transport and fair working conditions along the supply chain are checked. The certificate is only awarded for European production; manufacturers from Asia, for example, are not able to obtain the certificate.

 

 

At D3CO have set ourselves the goal to produce our furniture in a sustainable, ecological, socially responsible way. Certificates for the materials we use are an important guideline for us and our customers. Currently we work with FSC-certified wood that meets EU standards E0 and E1, textiles certified according to Oeko-Tex, latex with EuroLATEX label and down from animal cruelty-free production certified according to RDS.