Textile Exchange standards offer brands and retailers confidence that products they purchase are independently verified to contain what they promise. Brands and retailers that have made commitments to sourcing responsible fibers and materials such as organically grown fiber, recycled content, or responsible down and wool can use these standards in sourcing and consumer communication.
Standards are an extremely effective tool to drive change in the industry, and to ensure a given set of criteria are met. Textile Exchange standards require yearly inspections of each stage of the supply chain and uses transaction certificates to document each transfer of products. This gives a higher level of confidence in the chain of custody of certified goods.
Standards do not guarantee 100% compliance, 100% of the time; instead they significantly narrow the margins for non-conformity by making expectations clear, and by providing a level of oversight through regular inspections, interviews, and document checking.
Start planning which materials you want to source and which suppliers need to be engaged. Communicate your targets and plans to internal and external stakeholders to get the products ready and your own systems in place.
You can immediately start requesting certified products from your vendors. You don’t need to be certified to place an order and receive a transaction certificate for certified products. Only products with accompanying transaction certificates are considered certified.
Find Certified Companies here.
If you want to mention the standards on-product, make sure you understand 1) whether or not you need to be certified, 2) allowed language for claims, and 3) the process for getting artwork approved.
To label products, these three steps must be met:
You can also talk about the standards or your commitments in other places like the sustainability section of your website, annual reports, advertising, or social media.
Learn more about Labeling & Making Claims here.
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.