Apparel & Textiles

Apparel and Textiles | Credit: Dinh Pham on Unsplash

Includes accessories; bags and cloth wraps; bedding; curtains; footwear; table, kitchen and bath linens

Company 

Required:

  • Business core purpose includes a “green” business function.  
  • Social and environmental mission and vision statement for your business on its website. 

Materials Used  

Required:

  • Produced using certified organic, reclaimed/recycled fibers or other sustainable material such as hemp. 
  • Transparency around animal derivatives. 
  • Use of eco fabrics; durable, made from post or pre-consumer recycled fibers, processes that do not result in a toxic waste stream, can be readily recycled or composted. 
  • No genetically- modified cotton. 
  • If using rayon derived from bamboo, no miracle language. 

Preferred:

  • Dyes: natural or low-impact; fiber reactive; phosphate-free. 
  • Water-based adhesives. 
  • Use recycled clothing from thrift or second-hand stores. 

Manufacturing of Apparel/Textiles  

Required:

  • Commitment to sustainable labor practices and continuous improvement and transparency in the process. 
  • Country of manufacture disclosed on all products unless everything comes from one country and it is stated clearly on the front page of the website. 
  • Code of conduct in place that addresses social and environmental factory conditions with enforcement mechanism. 
  • Owned factories have an established worker representation mechanism.  
  • Owned factories pay a wage that ensures workers well-being. 
  • Commitment to a transparent supply chain including sub-contracting.   
  • Long-term contracts with contracted manufacturers. 

Preferred: 

  • Owned and/or contracted factories are certified fair labor or fair trade. 
  • Owned/contracted factories are unionized.  
  • Disclosed factory list publicly available.  
  • Factory labor is paid a living a wage. 

Product Packaging

Required:

  • Environmentally and socially positive packaging.  
  • Packaging is recyclable or compostable. 
  • Packaging components are from recycled sources and used at minimum. 

Preferred:  

  • Packaging can be taken back for reuse. 

Product Shipping & Company Transportation 

Required:

  • Program in place to reduce emissions from company vehicles. 
  • Works with distributors that take steps to reduce emissions from vehicles and shipping. 

Preferred: 

  • Company is an EPA SmartWay partner or affiliate.  
  • Company Works with distributors who are EPA SmartWay partners or affiliates.  

Company Employment

Required: 

  • Employees have access to family friendly benefits including high-quality health insurance, sick days, paid parental leave and childcare help. 
  • Offer a flexible workplace culture that encourages work/life balance and makes reasonable accommodations for telecommuting and flex schedules. 
  • Pays a wage that ensures employees well-being. 
  • Has an established non-discrimination policy and procedure, and ensures an inclusive workplace culture. 
  • Governs fairly and in a transparent manner. Is open to employee input. Has a whistle blower protection policy in place. 

Preferred:

  • Living wage is paid. 
  • Has an established program that invests in employee growth and development. 

Education

Required: 

  • Educates consumers on how to properly dispose of product at end of life-cycle. 
  • Use transparent and truthful marketing. 
  • Advocate for green business practices in your industry. 
  • Established program for receiving input from both internal and external stakeholders.  

Preferred:

  • Established take back program for end of product life-cycle. 
  • Actively seeks feedback from industry peers and participates in industry associations and mentor programs. 

Green Office/Facility  

Required: 

  • HVAC system well-maintained, building well-insulated, and smart and efficient climate control employed. 
  • System in place for reducing electricity consumption from lighting and electronics. 
  • Use of Energy Star rated appliances and CFL/LED light bulbs in office. 
  • Use of 100% post-consumer recycled, Chlorine Free paper in the office and in all envelopes, marketing, and print materials. 
  • Systems in place for reducing paper use such as electronic processes, printers set with double sided printing as the default, and more. 
  • Use of only non-toxic cleaning and pest control products. 
  • Maximum amount of waste is reused or recycled including paper, plastic, metals, glass, electronics, and printer ink cartridges. 
  • Action on clean energy such as purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) or use of on-site clean energy. 
  • Compost all food waste. 
  • Landscaping done with sustainability in mind, especially considering runoff and stormwater management. 
  • Only fair trade and USDA certified organic coffee and tea served in the office. 
  • Use of green or local caterers for events. 
  • Use of a certified E-Steward for electronics recycling.