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Friend of the Earth, the leading global standard for products that comply with sustainable practices under the World Sustainability Organisation (WSO), has just launched a new certification for sustainable fashion. While the fashion industry has undergone a major step change to clean up the waste and pollution it is responsible for, systemic change must happen in order to combat ecological and climate disasters. Global standards emerging in sustainable fashion will help to encourage more planet-friendly practices in the production and consumption of garments and textiles, and help consumers discern cases of greenwashing.
The global certification program for products from sustainable agriculture and farming Friend of the Earth has just announced that it is launching a new certification dedicated to sustainable fashion. Brands that hope to earn the certification will need to pass the organisation’s audit to demonstrate various eco-friendly commitments, such as using sustainably produced materials, waste reduction and minimising environmental harms. Once brands obtain the certification, they can use the Friend of the Earth Certified Fashion insignia on their product labels.
“We wear agriculture…Yet, whether it’s through agriculture required to grow textile inputs, the transportation involved or the packing materials, the fashion business…[is] a big polluter. It doesn’t have to be this way,” said Director of Friend of the Earth Paolo Bray.
Friend of the Earth was launched in 2014 by the WSO in hopes to bring about a significant reduction in the environmental impact of agriculture and farming through encouraging corporations to optimise the use of resources. Its standards include conserving existing ecosystems, protecting flora and fauna, energy efficiency and renewable resources, efficient management of resources and social accountability.
For their new sustainable fashion certification, brands must meet several additional criteria. These include using only Friend of the Earth certified sustainably farmed textiles or recycled products, meeting social and environmental management standards, legal compliance and protection of wildlife ecosystems. In addition, the organisation will hold regular audits by independent bodies to ensure that companies meet appropriate management of hazardous substances, controlling water and output waste, and are using energy efficiently.
The fashion industry has undergone a serious identity crisis in the past year, making headlines for its enormous waste, air pollution and carbon emissions – not to mention the problematic human and workers’ rights violations found in many supply chains. Driven by mostly younger shoppers, consumers are becoming more attuned to the social and environmental impact of their fashion choices, pushing brands to launch more sustainably-marketed products than ever before.
But while the industry has in some ways ramped up their efforts in using recycled, upcycled and plastic-free materials and promoted rental, refurbishment and resale options, there is clearly a long way to go for the one of the world’s most carbon-emission-intensive industries. Some steps taken by brands simply fail to go far enough to minimise its environmental impact on the planet, while others represent cases of greenwashing. More global standards such as Friend of the Earth’s new sustainable fashion certification will therefore help shoppers discern how responsibly-produced a brand’s garments really are.
In the midst of the escalating climate crisis and heightened consumer awareness, it is clear that the sustainable fashion trend will be here to stay – and more regulatory and monitoring bodies must hold corporations to account to ensure that real necessary shifts for the planet and people are happening.
Read more of the latest sustainable fashion news here.
Lead image courtesy of Pexels / Friend of the Earth.