Regulated Labels – Quality Labels?
There are labels which are established and regulated by public authorities. Although this particular category of labels is quite small, their reputation is held very high. This category of labels are strictly regulated and provide transparency towards their steps of certification.1 These labels aim to guarantee quality for consumers as well as reward affiliated brands for their involvement.
These labels have a very broad scope of action. It can be criticized that in the matter of textiles, these labels do not guarantee ambitious social standards (to ensure, for example, safe working conditions, gender equality, other) compared to independent labels. On the other hand, these labels guarantee very high standards related in particular to the environment, such as the use of organic fabric, the non-use of certain hazards but also with regards to the sustainability of the lifecycle of the product.
These labels guarantee the quality of the product. However, these labels are usually only recognized by the territorial scope of the delivering administrative body. This tends to diminish the impact for influence in a more global trade system.
Here are some examples of institutionalized labels:
This label is regulated by a European regulation and is a prerogative of the European Commission. The brand wanting to obtain this label must introduce its demand on the dedicated platforms. The brand then undergoes an examination by a specially-appointed committee. This label guarantees that the product(s) is made of organic fabric, that it bans the use of some hazardous chemicals and that the overall lifecycle of the product is sustainable. The label also guarantees standards related to health and safety issues of the workforce, but does not cover wages or company due diligence. The label is recognized in all Member States of the European Union as well as Norway and Iceland.
The Blue Angel3
This label is regulated by the federal German government and is delivered by a specially-appointed jury. Similar to the EU Ecolabel, it guarantees that the product is made of organic fabric, that it bans certain hazardous chemicals and that the lifecycle of the product is sustainable. Furthermore, this label also guarantees the respect of international labor law standards by the company. This label is recognized by German consumers.
The Nordic Swan4
This label is regulated by the international law of registered trademarks – the World Intellectual Property office – and then applied in each specific state owner of the label. Through this label, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Finland have together set common environmental standards that are reviewed by special committees in their own respective states. This label guarantees high environmental standards related to chemicals contained in the product and the sustainability of the means of production as well as international labor law standards for the workforce. This label is well recognized within the territories of the five Member States of the label.
- Information withdrawn from “Sustainable Fashion? How companies provide sustainability information to consumers”, Report February 2020, HEJ Support: https://hej-support.org/new-report-sustainable-fashion-how-companies-provide-sustainability-information-to-consumers/
2. For detailed information: https://ec.europa.eu/environment/ecolabel/the-ecolabel-scheme.html
3. For detailed information : https://produktinfo.blauer-engel.de/uploads/attachment/en/BE_Factsheet_Textilien_ENG_2021-02-11_WEB.pdf
4. For detailed information: https://www.nordic-ecolabel.org/product-groups/group/?productGroupCode=039