Dr. Regina Henkel
Author:
Dr. Regina Henkel

At ISPO MUNICH 2017, These Labels Stand for Sustainability

More and more seals and certifications are intended to help customers choose the right products that bear in mind environmental protection, animal welfare or fair working conditions. Yet the sheer number of different awards and guarantees confuses both retailers and customers alike. ISPO.com presents all the relevant seals in the sporting goods industry.

Whether they’re environmentally friendly or fairly produced outdoor products, many certificates guarantee sustainability.
Whether they’re environmentally friendly or fairly produced outdoor products, many certificates guarantee sustainability.

There is a distinct and increasing lack of simple truths in this era of abundance. Take, for example, the plethora of sustainability seals, initiatives and organizations that have emerged in recent years. There are seals for product safety, sustainable production, social responsibility, etc. – all of which with an incredibly wide range of different grading systems.

The stricter the list of criteria a seal has, the better. Right? Critics argue that only a few companies engage with these criteria, meaning most demand guidelines that are less strict but more compatible. This seems to have a greater impact overall.

It used to be that the size of a company was the guideline to tell you who the good guys and the bad guys in the clothing industry were. Exploitation and a poor environmental record are part of the repertoire of cheap, fast fashion suppliers.

There’s no way that 15-euro snow pants could possibly be sustainable! This may be true, but some fast fashion retailers are now becoming role models for sustainability.

Who guarantees anti-pollution policies?

Can cotton be sustainably produced? Certain seals show which companies produce under fair conditions.
Can cotton be sustainably produced? Certain seals show which companies produce under fair conditions.

Let's take a look at consumption itself, which many environmental activists decry as the root of all the environmental pollution and wasted resources. How globally sustainable would it be to massively reduce consumption? What would become of the people in Asia who make their living from our consumer behavior?

If we must consume, then we must do so by using responsible products. Yet this abundance of seals and initiatives doesn’t make things easier for consumers to get a clear picture. Some people discredit them as just another set of confusing industry statistics. But they are important because they do work towards the same goal, albeit in different ways.

After all, the demand for greater sustainability isn’t just a fleeting fad. Action is needed from the industry before consumers can truly change by taking a critical look at their own behavior. That’s why further investment is absolutely crucial. 

Here are the most important sustainability seals in the sporting goods industry:


B Corporation





Better Cotton Initiative





Cradle to Cradle Certified Products Program





Compostability Mark of European Bioplastics





Ethical Trading Initiative





Fairtrade Certified Cotton





EU Ecolabel





Fair Labor Association





Global Recycle Standard





Bluesign Product





Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)





Greenroom Voice Transparency Tool





Responsible Down Standard




Global Traceable Down Standard





Fair Wear Foundation





Step by Oeko-Tex





Made in Green by Oeko-Tex





Nordic Ecolabel





Leather Working Group





Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex





Organic Content Standard 100





Responsible Wool Standard





SA8000 Standard





Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals





Soil Association Organic Standard





UN Global Compact





PETA-Approved Vegan and Sunflower




The Higg Index of Sustainable Apparel Coalition




Dr. Regina Henkel
Author:
Dr. Regina Henkel


Dr. Regina Henkel
Author:
Dr. Regina Henkel




ISPO Munich
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