Gifted Standards

Gifted Standards

About the Gifted Standards Assessment Process

In 2018, Textile Exchange was gifted five new Standards by Control Union. Between 2019 and early 2020, each Standard was thoroughly assessed to determine how it would fit into Textile Exchange’s portfolio of offerings. The gifted standards assessment project centered around five Standards:

1.         Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS)

2.         Sustainable Fiber Program (SFP)

3.         Responsible Accessories & Jewelry Standard (RAJS)

4.         Non-GMO Production Standard (NGPS)

5.         Vegan Standard (VS)

At the point of the assessment, the standards were in different stages of their lifecycle. Some were already in use by our community while others were and still are in development through piloting and research. As part of the assessment, we looked for our community’s expertise and thought partnership to determine the role of Textile Exchange in each standard’s future.

All five gifted Standards were evaluated against six assumptions centering around mission fit, ability to transform the industry towards meaningful change, and business opportunity, so we were able to compare assessments and evaluations across all five at the end of the project. We also evaluated how the standard contributes to our 2030 strategy, the value propositions, and the vision of Preferred Fiber and Materials.

We will update this page as our Board reaches final decisions.

Standard Scope, Feedback Received, and Decisions Made

Intent of GOLS

The GOLS is a public Standard available for certification today. It is an organic materials and processing Standard which addresses the processing, packing, and labelling of natural rubber latex sourced from certified organic sources (USDA NOP or EU). In scope of GOLS certification is each processing step of the unprocessed raw rubber (centrifuging units, molding, processing units, final production of the product) all the way to the trader, brand or retailer.

High-level Feedback Themes

  • GOLS is an incentive for organic production
  • Provides opportunity to differentiate oneself from misleading claims made in the bedding industry
  • Ensures organic source of materials and gives assurance to the conscious consumers that they’re buying in line with their values
  • Not a textile standard – good fit for Textile Exchange?
  • Interest for GOLS to be more inclusive and to certify a broader assortment of pillows, support accessories to GOLS mattresses, shoes, and condoms.
  • Agreement across subject matter experts that GOLS needs more work to lead to better impact in these four areas: intent, scope, content, and enforcement.

Pending decision. Please check back soon.

Intent of the SFP

The SFP is a production and processing Standard that was designed in 2012 to address the need for a comprehensive and inclusive program on natural fibers. It is built around three main pillars: agricultural, animal husbandry and processing pillars and requires compliance with eight sections total, including general principles, quality control, social criteria, safety & hygiene, and inspection of smallholder farmer groups. In scope of the SFP is the entire chain of custody, from farm, ginning, spinning, fabric and other manufacturing processes all the way to the brand/retail/wholesale level.

High-level Feedback Themes

  • Sustainable / natural fibers are such a diverse topic that a single standard can hardly cover it all.
  • ‘Sustainable’ means different things to different people. Need to specify what it means.
  • Opportunity to create an umbrella standard with a broader look at fibers that uses the nomenclature of ‘preferred fiber’, rather than keeping the scope on natural fibers alone.
  • Duplicates existing certification themes (many with stronger propositions).
  • Needs work to lead to better impact.

Decisions made

The SFP provides a great opportunity to incentivize conversion to organic agriculture and to determine good, better, and best practices on the farm level. As a result, Textile Exchange is exploring opportunities to further develop the Sustainable Fiber Program into a tool to address our Climate+ goals.

Intent of the RAJS

The RAJS was designed with the aim to define requirements to ensure that trims, jewelry, and accessories are made under positive social and environmental practices, from sourcing of the raw materials, through environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing up to labelling to the consumer. 

High-level Feedback Themes

  • Duplicates existing certification themes (many with stronger propositions and already well-known amongst buyers and consumers) and thus ‘adds to the label jungle’.
  • Feels dated with many requirements being status quo in the industry today and leading certifications going far beyond already.
  • Green-washing concerns around the liberal use of ‘responsible’ and ‘sustainable’ without providing more depth.

Decisions made

The RAJS does not offer new components that existing schemes don’t already address. Hence, Textile Exchange will not take the RAJS into its portfolio of standards. To better address the use of preferred materials in trims and accessories, we will incorporate this lens when we review our recycled standards and any other relevant standard.

Intent of the NGPS

The Non-GMO Production Standard was designed with the aim to define requirements to verify the accuracy of Non-GMO Production claims in products. It pivots around an ‘Ingredients were not genetically engineered by use of modern biotechnology’ claim to highlight the manner of production of a product. In scope of the standard are the procurement, production, handling, processing, storage, distribution and labelling of foods and agriculture products of plant, animal and microbial origin.

 High-level Feedback Themes

  • Could add value for the non-food sector, specifically in the textile sector.
  • Needs improvement in the areas of scope and intent, relevance, and technical soundness to lead to intended impact.

 Decisions made

Textile Exchange will take on the NGPS as an element of the development of the SFP. See above.

Intent of the VS

The Vegan Standard provides support for plant-based lifestyles with the aim to ensure certified products do not contain animal products or by-products. Both food and non-food products are in scope. It applies to all physical or legal entities that produce, process, transport, handle and trade vegan products.

 High-level Feedback Themes

  • With the growth of veganism, brands and retailers notice an increased customer interest in vegan products.
  • There is a need to align on what ‘vegan’ actually means and how it relates to textiles in the absence of an ISO definition for ‘vegan’.
  • Opposing viewpoints on a Vegan Standard within Textile Exchange’s existing portfolio: trust to create a meaningful standard vs. skepticism as the owner two animal-related standards and not being able to ‘walk the talk’ of the lifestyle of veganism.

Decisions made

Textile Exchange conducted a careful review of the Vegan standard and invited feedback from our stakeholders and other interested parties. From our research and stakeholder input, we have concluded that the Vegan Standard is not the right fit for Textile Exchange to own and manage. We are supportive of the further development of the Vegan Standard and acknowledge that work here is needed to address the many claims currently in the market. We recommend that another organization with a vegan practice-based mission take on this role for the apparel and footwear space. We look forward to contributing what we have learned to any organization that takes on this role.

A word of gratitude

The voice of our community played a pivotal role in the decision-making of the role for each standard. We thank our community for being such active participants in the assessment process, graciously offering their insights and expertise, and posing questions for discussion. We understand that this takes time and commitment and appreciate the effort that has been put into this assessment by our community.  We would also like to thank Control Union for their contribution to the development of these standards and making them available for Textile Exchange to review their fit into our work.

Contact Us

We have compiled an FAQ that answers questions we have received to date. We will periodically update this FAQ with new questions we receive. For any additional questions, comments or feedback on this process, please do not hesitate to reach out to Standards@TextileExchange.org.

FAQs: http://textileexchange.org/integrity/standards-faqs/#GiftedStandards

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