As an industry, it’s no secret that textiles have a particularly large ecological footprint. As a result, our end users want to make sure their protective workwear is produced in an environmentally-friendly and socially responsible way. Alongside this, they want to feel confident that the garment is safe to wear. This is where the OEKO-TEX® Made in Green label comes in. This label on your textile or leather product guarantees that it fulfills the highest criteria when it comes to sustainability, safety, and social responsibility. In this blog, we unpack exactly what OEKO-TEX® and Made in Green mean, and why they are important in the textiles industry.
What is OEKO-TEX®?
The OEKO-TEX® certification exists to promote sustainability, trust, and transparency within the textiles industry, as well as the leather industry. There are two well-known standards in existence: OEKO-TEX® 100 (product certification) and OEKO-TEX® Step (manufacturing facility certification). Both certifications need to be achieved in order to have the authority to promote the OEKO-TEX® Made in Green label for your textile products.
OEKO-TEX® in workwear textiles
Not only does OEKO-TEX® guarantee a high level of ethical standards in terms of eco-footprint and production processes, but it of course meets the high standards of safety that you expect in workwear textiles. Any products awarded the OEKO-TEX® certification will have been rigorously tested against harmful substances. Every year, the products need to be re-certified by a notified body, to show that they remain safe when tested against harmful substances (like chemicals, heavy metals, nickel, or pesticides).
The manufacturing facility certificate is valid for 3 years, with random compliance audits from the notified body in between. The auditor will verify if obligations for the latest standards are adapted for the key focus areas: environmental performance, environmental management, chemical management, social responsibility, quality, and health & safety aspects.
The performance of the manufacturing facility is graded in three possible levels — with level one representing minimum levels of compliance, up to level three, which represents the ideal implementation of best practice. We are proud to share that in 2021, TenCate Protective Fabrics Europe was awarded a total score of level three.
The OEKO-TEX® Made in Green label explained
Made in Green brings together the OEKO-TEX® 100 and OEKO-TEX® Step certifications into one handy label. This label is only granted to products that meet the precise requirements of both certifications. Made in Green is important because products that receive the label are recognized as being internationally known and trusted. In an industry that is known to have a huge environmental impact, and where working conditions must be respected to keep workers safe, having this marker of safety and reliability is extremely valuable.
The need for Made in Green
More and more, members of the textiles supply chain are seeking out partners who value transparency and sustainability. At TenCate Protective Fabrics Europe, we have therefore chosen to adhere to the certifications required to receive the Made in Green label. In doing so, we are putting our money where our mouth is when it comes to proving our commitment to reducing the eco-footprint of our products, and ensuring the workplaces in which they are produced are safe and sustainable.
Interested in Made in Green?
If you’re interested in moving towards the Made in Green label for your products, a good first step is to have a look at our Eco-Fabrics Footprint Calculator. This quick and easy online tool will measure the environmental impact of your workwear fabrics in just minutes, helping you work towards your company’s sustainability and social responsibility goals.