“Over the course of the past five years, from the foundation of the Textile Alliance to the introduction of the Grüner Knopf, there has been opposition that has, at times, been quite vocal. This opposition has come from both sides – NGOs who think that the seal’s requirements are too lax as well as manufacturers and associations who think that they are too strict. Nevertheless, we have managed to set a high standard that is a true milestone. As the first state sponsored meta-seal, the Grüner Knopf is a powerful resource for consumers who want to purchase ecologically and socially responsible textiles. “I am truly delighted with the launch of the Grüner Knopf and the deep commitment that the participants have shown here in Berlin”, reported Antje von Dewitz at the kick-off event with all members of the Alliance for Sustainable Textiles at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.
High standards for products and companies
With a deep level of commitment from Germany’s Federal Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development, Gerd Müller, the federal government has created the Grüner Knopf state textile certification seal to label socially and ecologically produced textiles. Products with the new label must be manufactured in accordance with high environmental and social criteria laid out by the state. The Grüner Knopf combines standards for both products and for companies who have to prove due diligence. “The Grüner Knopf confirms our high standards and demonstrates that fair supply chains are possible. As of today, this can no longer be called into question. This has been demonstrated by all the companies that are participating,” said Minister Gerd Müller. The Grüner Knopf is a global seal that can also be applied for and used in other countries – monitoring is based on unified international standards. “We strongly welcome the fact that the Grüner Knopf certification seal has been created with a deep level of commitment from the Minister of Development Gerd Müller. We hope that many companies will assume responsibility, join the program and have their products certified.” explained Jan Lorch, Managing Director Sales and CSR at VAUDE.
Grüner Knopf for the majority of VAUDE products
VAUDE is one of the first German companies to receive the new Grüner Knopf textile certification seal for a majority of its product range. The strict criteria of the company's own Green Shape label were recognized and provided an important foundation for obtaining the certification. The Grüner Knopf applies to 90 percent of the current VAUDE Autumn/Winter 2019/20 Apparel Collection and 75 percent of the entire VAUDE product range, which also includes hardware products such as backpacks, bags, sleeping bags and tents. All of these products will now bear the Grüner Knopf label, which is already visible to online customers. All certified VAUDE products will gradually be labeled with the logo in walk-in stores.
“I’m just thrilled that as an innovative outdoor outfitter, VAUDE has joined the Grüner Knopf program right from its inception. VAUDE is a pioneer for sustainability across the entire textile industry. As an active founding member of our textile association, VAUDE has played a leading role for years and has demonstrated that performance apparel and sustainability can go hand in hand. The fact that such a well-recognized trailblazer for sustainability is participating in the Grüner Knopf confirms that we’re on the right path,” said Minister Gerd Müller.
The Grüner Knopf provides orientation
The Grüner Knopf is a label that’s visible directly on each product and is easily recognizable by consumers. “We are experiencing that more and more people wish to buy clothes with a clear conscience, but are finding it difficult to recognize ecologically and fairly produced products. The meaning of the various certification seals is also confusing. As a state-supervised certification seal, the Grüner Knopf offers consumers orientation for responsible shopping. Each and every one of us is important and we can make a contribution with every purchase we make,” said Antje von Dewitz.
The VAUDE Green Shape label
As early as 2009, VAUDE began to define its own standard for sustainable products in the absence of a comprehensive textile seal. With Green Shape, a label was developed that has become well established in the industry. The criteria for assessing Green Shape products are strict and transparent. They are monitored regularly and cover the entire life cycle of the product – from design and production to maintenance, repair and recycling. The use of environmentally friendly materials, the longevity of products, the avoidance of harmful chemicals and compliance with social standards in the global supply chain are all important aspects of the label. Internationally recognized standards such as the bluesign® System, the Fair Wear Foundation (FWF) and the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), which are now recognized in the Grüner Knopf, also play a central role.
“For us, the state certification of VAUDE products with the Grüner Knopf confirms that we took the right path 10 years ago with our strict Green Shape criteria, which we imposed on ourselves. We are delighted that the majority of VAUDE products have now been independently certified.” said Hilke Patzwall, VAUDE CSR Manager.
Partnership for Sustainable Textiles & Grüner Knopf
As a founding member of the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles, VAUDE has been working since 2014 to ensure that internationally recognized environmental and social standards are implemented throughout the value chain of textile production. VAUDE is not only pursuing its own vision of production that is as sustainable as possible. As part of the larger textile industry, it recognizes its obligation to contributing to a change in the framework conditions across all sectors and to finding more environmentally compatible and socially fair solutions for practical implementation.