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LONDON – A new NGO report published today concludes that environmental certification programmes in the textile sector are guilty of making false promises on sustainability and calls for the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) to be scrapped completely.

The report notes that many shoppers rely on labels and certifications for an easily-understandable way to determine how responsibly a garment is manufactured, and it lambasts certain initiatives for a lack of transparency, criticises the Higg Index for its self-assessment approach and accuses MADE-BY of being incomplete.

“Many schemes lack transparency”, says the report, “and are being used as a cover – making it more difficult for NGOs and academics to question the sustainability of some products and companies.”

On a positive note, the report flags up the EU Eco-Label and the Global Organic Textile Standard as being among the “best schemes, because they use a life-cycle approach to textile certification.”

Published by Changing Markets, the new report also looks at certification in the palm oil and fisheries sectors, although its overall findings look somewhat confused in that some of the textile initiatives under fire are not in themselves consumer-facing labels – although the NGO denies this.

Meanwhile, BCI, the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and MADE-BY have all rebuffed the report.


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