Sustainable textiles standards - what you need to know

The textile industry is one of the most environmentally damaging industry in the world and is also one that requires vast number of natural resources such as land and water. The world wildlife fund (WWF) estimates that it takes on average 2700 litres of water to produce a single cotton t-shirt, which is why the industry is under ever-increasing scrutiny on sustainability measures. Modern consumers nowadays are demanding more not just on sustainability of the materials but also the footprint of the supply chain. Our previous blog posts introduced international standards for sustainable materials, and here we will be talking about a couple of internationally recognised textile environmental/chemical safety standards. 



Oeko-tex is an internationally recognised standard founded back in 1992 in Zurich, Switzerland. The standard aims to label and certify textile products and production at all stages in the supply chain to make sure products do not contain harmful chemicals, or below certain limit values set by the Oeko-tex association. The products range from raw materials such as fibres and yarns, fabrics, all the way to end products such as clothing. 

Oeko-tex has since designed a range of standards covering from product chemical safety to environmentally friendly production process. The most well-known being the Oeko-tex 100 standard which ensures every components of the product such as the fabric, buttons and even down to the threads used has been tested for harmful substances and hence is safe for human health. The standard also divides into different product class as below

Product class 1: Articles for babies and toddlers
Product class 2: Articles with direct contact to the skin
Product class 3: Articles without direct contact to the skin
Product class 4: Home textiles


In addition to product safety, Oeko-tex have recently developed other sustainability standards/labels such as Made in green by Oeko-tex, which offers customers traceability and transparency towards the supply chain used to produce a certain textile product. Other standards such as STeP by Oeko-tex were introduce to certify a company based on its overall environmental and social managements.





The Bluesign(R) standard was established in 2000 in Switzerland with the aim to set up a sustainability standard and network in the textile industry. The standard involves auditing textile mills on their manufacturing processes, from raw materials used to greenhouse gas and wastewater emissions. In addition to the audit, Bluesign(R) also help to suggest improvements to their system partners. In contrast to standards such as Oeko-Tex that only audit and record non-compliance in the supply chain, Bluesign(R) is directly involved in supplying systemic solutions to its partners across the supply chain through its system partner model. Through this model, it gathers stakeholders across the supply chain to collaborate to improve the sustainability in the production processes.

At Koup, sustainability is at the very core of our brand value so we strive to meet the most stringent standards. Within our supply chain, our material/ yarn supplier is Oeko-tex standard compliant to ensure material safety and our dyeing and finishing partners are Bluesign(R) approved, making sure we minimise our environmental footprint beyond the materials we use.

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