Certification is a tool for companies to validate and communicate sustainability claims about their products. One of the biggest areas of impact in the apparel and textile supply chain is the raw material level. And it’s also the farthest away from the consumer. Certification offers a way to verify environmental, social and animal welfare practices at the beginning of the supply chain, and track the material to the final product. Certification provides brand protection, confidence in your sourcing, and greater credibility to the claims being made.
Above all, certification is a means for ensuring that your sustainability commitments lead to meaningful and positive change.
In this system, an independent third-party gives assurance that a company, process, or product conforms with the requirements in a particular standard. For Textile Exchange standards, the standards owner (Textile Exchange) operates independently of the certification body. Third-party certification is one of the strongest ways to ensure the integrity of sustainability claims.
Brands making claims need confidence that the claims made to consumers are true. Certification provides a credible voice for suppliers and brands, verifying that claims are valid and have been checked by an independent party.
The system of recognizable standards creates a common language for suppliers, brands, retailers, and consumers globally.
Certification to internationally recognized standards contributes to greater industry alignment on specific issues. This allows the industry to move faster towards progress on sustainability goals.
Certification provides an opportunity for suppliers to explain their commitments and have their products or services verified by a third party, which can lead to higher confidence in you as a supplier.
Contact an approved certification body (CB) to request services. The CB will be your point of contact throughout the entire process of certification, from beginning to final labeling / communications.
Fill out the application form from the CB and submit. Tip! Applying with more than one CB allows you to compare estimates.
Upon receipt of your completed application, the CB will prepare an offer including estimates of price and timing.
After the offer is accepted, you will be asked to sign a contract with the CB. Typically, a contract is valid for one year, and will need to be renewed after that.
The CB will send an auditor to review documents and procedures against the requirements of the standard. Tip! Read the standard and prepare relevant documents and staff. Good preparation can reduce certification costs by saving auditing time.
The results of the audit will be sent to the CB’s office in an audit report; a separate person will review them and make a final certification decision. If non-conformities (NC) are noted, you will be given a corrective action plan. All NCs must be closed in order for a scope certificate (SC) to be issued.
Upon successfully meeting all requirements of the standard, a scope certificate will be issued.
CBs may conduct unannounced inspections to verify that you are still complying with the standards.
Following the shipment of certified goods to the given standard, contact your CB to apply for a transaction certificate (TC). Only products with an accompanying TC are considered certified.