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As good old Albert (Einstein) said, “ If you can't explain something simply, it's because you haven't understood it well .”

At Muule we also agree with this. So it seems important to us to understand and make you understand what, at first glance, is not super clear. Since our launch in 2022, we have set up the Muule barometer to relay the efforts that our outdoor brands are making for people and for the planet. One of the ways to certify these efforts is through compliance with environmental labels and certifications: Bluesign, GOTS, FSC, SEDEX SMETA… All these acronyms are great but not always transparent for the uninitiated!

In this article (and with the help of our great partner Air Coop, an agency specializing in impact analysis) we tried to popularize environmental certifications which play a crucial role in promoting sustainability and transparency. So that the next time you come across one of our product sheets you will be able to understand the scope of these labels... and choose your gear with full conscience.

When you read a product sheet, we advise you to keep an eye on the certifications and labels displayed on the product sheets. Because yes, your choice can have a greater impact than you think. By choosing certified clothing or equipment, you can be assured that your money is helping to support fair production practices that respect human rights. The use of labels helps build a future where the dignity of workers and the well-being of consumers are undisputed priorities for the outdoor industry.

Where do textile labels and certifications come from?

Their use dates back several decades. The first steps towards ethical certification date back to the fair trade and environmental protection movements of the 1960s and 1970s. However, it was not until the 1990s and 2000s that textile certifications really gained popularity and international recognition.

What are the textile labels and certifications of outdoor brands used for?

They represent a sort of Holy Grail for certain outdoor brands! Their goal is to give brands that respect them legitimacy in achieving their societal (respect for people) and environmental (respect for the environment) objectives.

What do textile labels and certifications mean?

Great question! At Muule we believe that the transparency of outdoor brands requires above all the understanding of the labels. So here we go my kiki, we'll explain them to you one by one:

  • Oeko-tex Standard 100 : this label with a slightly exotic name simply guarantees that textiles do not contain substances harmful to human health. Basically, if you see it on a clothing label, you can be sure that the gear has been tested to avoid incorporating dangerous chemicals. It is often found on outdoor textiles but also on household linen or baby clothes.
  • Bluesign : This certification looks at the entire textile supply chain. Bluesign is focused on environmental sustainability, the idea is to reduce the use of resources and toxic emissions linked to chemicals as much as possible. Most outdoor brands use Bluesign certified materials.
  • B Corp : not necessarily designed for the textile industry, the B Corp label is increasingly used by brands seeking to demonstrate their social and environmental commitment. Certified B Corp companies are evaluated according to rigorous criteria. To obtain this certification, a company must meet high standards of social and environmental performance across its entire supply chain. By choosing products from certified B Corp brands like FAGUO or VEJA , consumers can rest assured that they are supporting companies that have a positive impact on society and the environment.
  • Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) : By promoting more sustainable agricultural practices and improving the living conditions of farmers, the BCI aims to make cotton production better for the people who grow it, for the environment and for the future of the industry.
  • Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) : This label is recognizable by its small green logo on clothing. GOTS certifies that the fibers used in textiles are organic, meaning they are grown without pesticides or synthetic chemicals. ROSSIGNOL uses it for its ranges of cotton T-shirts, for example.
  • FSC : Although this label is more often associated with wood and paper products (packaging of your products for example), it also plays a crucial role in the sustainability of textiles, particularly for fibers from wood (such as Tencel, Lyocell, viscose). When you see the FSC logo on a textile product, it implies that the fibers used come from responsibly managed forests, without causing excessive deforestation or violating the rights of local forest-dependent communities. The VAUDE brand uses it in their Tencel textiles.
  • Responsible Down Standard : This label guarantees that the down used in textile products comes from sources that respect animal welfare. RDS certified brands undertake to only use down from ducks and geese raised in dignified conditions, without practices such as force-feeding or live plucking. It is particularly used at JACK WOLFSKIN .
  • Responsible Wool Standard : Same objective as the previous one, it aims to guarantee that the wool used in textiles is produced ethically and respectful of the environment and animals. RWS certified farms follow livestock management practices that safeguard animal welfare and promote equitable worker relations. We find it at KATHMANDOU for example.
  • Fair Trade : This label assures consumers that workers in the supply chain have been fairly paid and worked in safe and environmentally friendly conditions.
  • Fair Wear Foundation : This label focuses on improving working conditions in the textile industry, ensuring that workers are treated fairly. It is particularly used by the HAGLÖFS brand .
  • SEDEX SMETA : A tool for assessing ethical business practices, SMETA examines working conditions, health and safety, business ethics and environmental protection in global supply chains. It is used for example by the MILLET brand.

Article written by Martin de Muule on March 8, 2024.

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