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BERLIN – The German Government has launched a new ‘Green Button’ (Grüner Knopf) certification standard for the textile and apparel industries. The new certification mark has been developed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and is the world’s first state-supervised certification mark that sets compliance standards for fashion and household textiles. The standard is open to all companies producing and/or selling textiles, including manufacturing companies and trade companies that sell third-party products under their own brand name.

The Green Button sets requirements whereby products must comply with 26 social and environmental requirements, and companies will also be required to demonstrate human rights and environmental due diligence according to a set of 20 criteria based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights as well as sector-specific OECD recommendations.

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During the introductory phase, the scheme will apply to two manufacturing stages, namely ‘cut-make-trim’ (production) and ‘bleaching and dyeing’ (wet processes).

Clean Clothes Campaign has welcomed the new initiative, however, it has raised a number of concerns around the eligibility criteria for companies, product certification requirements as well as supply chain transparency and traceability.

The introductory phase of the Green Button begins in mid-2019, from which time interested companies are invited to apply for a conformity assessment. Companies actively participating as early movers during the introductory phase will, under certain conditions, have the assessment fees waived.

The Germany Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is the certification mark owner and will stipulate the criteria and conditions for the mark, which will be assessed by independent auditors.

The Green Button certification mark certification follows international, harmonised ISO standards, making the scheme suitable for sustainable public procurement within the European Union (EU).

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