Summary

The ‘NATURTEXTIL iVN certified BEST’ standard was implemented and developed in 2000 by the iVN (International Association of Natural Textile Industry). It is a new spinoff from the former ‘iVN certified Better’ certification – today known as the GOTS standard. The regulations of the standard are higher than the current legal mandates within the European Union. The aim of the iVN certified BEST certification is to implement within the textile industry a standard which covers not only the inspection of the entire textile chain in terms of ecological accountability, but social accountability as well. Currently, the iVN certified BEST certification is the highest possible standard available for the ecological textile production supply chain on the market. Furthermore, today the iVN certified BEST standard is valid around the world.

Governance

The iVN certified BEST standard is managed as an association, based in Selzen in Germany.

iVN is one of the four members of the IWG (International Working Group) which includes the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTs), Organic Trade Association (OTA), Soil Association and Japanese Organic Cotton Association (JOCA).

The association is a union of over 100 companies situated in different production levels of the textile industry.

Scope

The iVN certified Best standard addresses those entities throughout the entire textile industry that would like to produce eco-friendlier textiles based on natural fibres.

As a starting point, the textile goods must be composed of 100% organic natural fibres, whether it is out of 100% kbA / certified organic cotton or of 100% kbT / certified organic animal fibres. Synthetic fibres are only allowed to make up a maximum of 5%, and only if their inclusion upgrades the final textile good. For example, if the addition of synthetic fibres makes the goods more elastic and therefore extends the life of the final textile good.

Market Acceptance

The iVN certified BEST standard is internationally accepted and valid for textile goods which are produced outside of the European economic market.

The iVN certified BEST standard has a broad segment, from the contractors working with yarns, fabrics, or dyeing up to finished goods such as garments and interior design products.

Certified partners can be found at http://www.naturtextil.com/retailers/manufacturers-list.html.

Criteria

Chemicals (Accepted/Restricted)

The iVN certified BEST certification is based on the directive of the EU 67/548 list, in which a large number of hazardous substances are prohibited or severely restricted. This specifying legal classification and identification for each substance is listed in the “R-rated” classification. iVN certified BEST goes one step further and prohibits substances which are particularly hazardous.

Consumer Safety

Within the iVN certified BEST standard, substances which have a potential risk for the consumer such as substances which are carcinogenic, mutagenic, impair fertility or are toxic to embryos, are prohibited in the final textile goods.

Heavy metals are forbidden, although there is an exception for iron. Copper up to the level of 5% is tolerated in the dyestuff for the dying of blue, green and turquoise tones.

Genetically engineered organisms used in industrial starches and enzymes, are strictly forbidden.

Finally, the finished certified textile good is tested in a laboratory for chemical residues, which can affect the human body’s immune system when they come into contact with the skin or when activated by sweat.

The iVN certified BEST standard’s residue limits are much more stringent than normal legal limitations. This gives the consumers an additional safety assurance.

Record Keeping

The “iVN certified BEST” standard is certified by the “Institute für Marktökologie” (IMO), in Weinfelden, Switzerland, Peterson Control Union in Berlin, Germany and Ceres in Happurg, Germany.

The “iVN certified BEST” standard is only applicable to products which are made out of 100% certified natural organic fibres. An exception is made for accessories on the textile goods, which can be made from ‘in conversion’ cotton.

In order to guarantee quality, valid organic certificates (and transaction certificates) from an accredited certification body are needed for all purchased organic fibres and yarns.

The operational procedures and practices must be supported by effective control systems and documentation to provide an audit trail.

The audit report not only includes the detailed inspection of documentation from the supply chain side – such as lists of suppliers, proof of origin of the raw materials and additives (certificates), recipes, and safety data sheets for process chemicals – but also the inspection of the grounds of the manufacturing sites. This means that the company must have the technology, staff and space to store and process ecological raw materials in such a way that both quality and traceability can be ensured in the certified textile goods at any time. Furthermore, inspection of the dyestuffs and auxiliaries in production and the store rooms must be possible at any time during the audit.

Management Responsibilities/Roles

There are no specific requirements from iVN certified BEST. However, the controlling bodies require that the companies have a contact person (e.g. manager, factory supervisor etc.) who is doing the preparation work for the auditing. The responsible person has to be available on the date of inspection. Furthermore, all relevant documents pertaining to the operation of the organic product flow such as incoming and outgoing invoices and packing lists, transaction certificates, processing sheets, recipes, safety data sheets, waste water descriptions, staff lists, working contracts etc., must be prepared.

Trainings

Certifiers require a complete quality assurance system according to the norms of EN 45011/ISO 65. All persons who are involved in the audits, evaluations or certification decision making must receive appropriate training in the applicable standard requirements as well as in social auditing techniques.

Environmental Policy

The iVN certified BEST standard obligates companies to implement an ‘environmental policy’, which must be handed in to the certification body. This environmental policy must cover the following subjects:

  • Minimisation and monitoring of waste and pollution,
  • Specific actions in the case of waste or contamination
  • Documentation of employee training
  • Policies regarding economic use of water and energy
  • Correct/minimised use and appropriate disposal of chemicals,
  • Programmes to improve production processes.
Social Responsibility

The iVN certified BEST social standards are based on “International Labour Organisation” (ILO) principles.

The criteria includes the following:

  • There must be no forced or slave labour,
  • There is a right to free association and contract negotiations must be respected,
  • Work conditions must be safe and clean,
  • There is no child labour,
  • Wages are sufficient to cover costs of living,
  • There are no protracted working hours and there is no discrimination,
  • Workers receive regular work contracts,
  • There is no disrespectful or inhumane treatment.
Storage, Packaging, and Transport

Certified iVN certified BEST goods must be warehoused and transported separate from conventional products and banned substances. Furthermore, improper substitution has to be prevented. Manufactures and suppliers that are working for conventional as well as for eco-friendly companies must separate their goods clearly from each other, as well as mark them explicitly as ecological goods.

In the packaging of the final textile goods, no PVC is allowed.

The transportation routes as well as the vehicles used for transportation of certified goods must be documented.

Certification

On Site Audits or Desktop Review

An onsite inspection visit to the factories is obligatory for each certification.

Unannounced Inspections/Other Inspections

The certification bodies can at any time conduct unannounced spot checks or additional audits.

Process

The certification marks the final assessment and approval of the evaluation results with regards to an operation’s compliance with the certification bodies’ certification requirements. The certification evaluation has to be strictly separated from the audit. This evaluation is always done by the certifier´s office. For getting the certification the operator needs a summary of the inspection and the evaluation result, as well as the final invoices.

Timing

It generally takes 1-2 months for certification.

Audit Team

The iVN certified Best standard is certified by three accredited certiers: by the Institute für Marktökologie (IMO), in Weinfelden, Switzerland, Peterson Control Union in Berlin, Germany and Ceres in Happurg, Germany.

Frequency

The Institut für Marktökologie (IMO) holds a full audit of each operation in the relevant chain of custody once a year. Even so the certifiers can at any time conduct unannounced spot checks or additional audits. In some cases, it is possible to extend the audit period to more than one year.

Certification and License Fee

The certification fee is charged by the certification bodies.  IVN does not charge anything for the certification. The licensing fee is 1% of the products turnover, unless the certified entity is an IVN member; IVN members do not need to pay for the license.

Labels

Process

Brands must have their labeling checked by either the certifier or the IVN office. IVN has a labeling guide according to the GOTS labeling guide. Details can be requested via info@naturtextil.com.

Applicability

The iVN certified Best standard certification is only possible on textile products which are out of 100% certified organic natural fibres, such as kbA cotton or kbT animal fibres. The supply chain has to follow rigid restrictions to pass an inspection and be certified as an ecologically and socially accountable final textile good. No mercerization of the fabric goods is allowed. Only natural dyes are allowed, and they must be free of heavy metals and considered non-toxic.

Fee

There is a onetime admission fee of 25% of the annual member fee. The annual member fee is turnover-dependent as following:

  • Service companies: 300€
  • Minimum fee: 300€
  • 200.000€ to 999.999€ turnover: 1,5  ‰
  • 1.000.000€ to 14.500.000€ turnover: 1,5  ‰ for first Million, then cumulated 1,0 ‰
  • 14.500.000€ to unlimited turnover: 15.000€

There is a sustaining member fee of 75,00€ for individuals or founders of a new business.