Standards Transition

Introduction

Textile Exchange is committed to building credible, internationally recognized standards that include assurance and monitoring and evaluations systems. As a member of ISEAL, Textile Exchange follows three Codes of Good Practice in addition to its own procedures for Standard Setting, Accreditation and Certification. All of Textile Exchange’s standards are international, voluntary standards that set requirements for third-party certification of material inputs and chain of custody. 

In July 2021, Textile Exchange began a comprehensive revision of the Textile Exchange Standards framework with the intent to transition all of its eight standards into one unified system.

Goals and Objectives

The aim of the transition is to meaningfully embed our Climate+ strategy into our standards, to streamline to a more unified standard system, and to create stronger communication at the consumer-facing level. 

The goal for the new unified Textile Exchange standard will be to drive the increased adoption of best practices in fiber and material production and sourcing that lead to positive impacts in line with our Climate+ goal, specifically reduce GHG emissions, improve soil health and biodiversity, and improve water quality and availability.

Scope

We plan on moving from eight standards into one material focused standard, that will have different modules applicable to different materials. Chain of custody will remain from source to the final product, with the brand being the last organization requiring certification in the supply chain. 

The focus of the standards will be on the fiber and material production level, in line with Textile Exchange’s strategy. We are also interested in exploring how to link facility-level certification or practices with our chain of custody. This scope decision will be made with feedback from stakeholders.

Needs Justification

Standards are a crucial tool to drive adoption of preferred fibers and materials and as such, there is the opportunity to use our standards as a driver towards our Climate+ goals. The new Standard will allow Textile Exchange to track progress more efficiently and effectively, while also adding more value into our existing certification system. The new standard would include a comprehensive set of criteria for the materials most commonly used in that textile supply chain including cotton, synthetics, wool, down, and others. 

There are some existing standards that address specific fibers or materials, but none that offer a comprehensive approach to material sourcing in line with Climate targets. In order to ensure the new standards system does not cause duplication of efforts, we are exploring an approach that would recognize initiatives in line with the outcomes identified in our standard.

Timeline

In July 2021, Textile Exchange held conversations and collected feedback from a variety of key stakeholders and hosted a public webinar presenting the direction of travel and goals for the standard transition. You can find the recording here

We plan to roll the GRS/RCS revision into the development of the new standard and are anticipating to release a new standards framework towards the end of 2022, following a thorough multi-stakeholder review process. 

Standards Transition 1

Decision Making Process

Textile Exchange will embark on this journey in collaboration with an International Working Group (IWG). Previous IWGs have been established per standard, and with this transition, we are planning to focus on one IWG, connected to smaller subject matter expert groups that will inform the IWG. We are also looking for participants for a labelling task force and pilot. If you are interested in participating in the IWG subject matter expert group, the labelling pilot, or both, please send an email to standards@textileexchange.org. 

How to Participate

Textile Exchange’s Standards Team is leading this revision process in close collaboration with the International Working Group. The public will have multiple opportunities to provide feedback throughout the revision process through an initial feedback period, participation in the International Working Group, and the final draft consultation. Please visit the Standards Transition Revision website for updates.  

Any questions or comments can be directed to Standards@TextileExchange.org