The ECO ALPHABET CODE OF CONDUCT is based on 12 different criteria as listed below. Each fashion brand (clothing, jewelry, accessories, shoes, home textiles) that wants to be listed on ECO ALPHABET must apply through the application form to state that the entire collection meet our Code of Conduct.
The brand´s collection must fully accord to criterion fair trade.
The main materials of the entire product collection must consist of organic and/or recycled and/or upcycled and/or eco materials. Main material is the most substantial component of the finished product including fillings (e.g. Theremore® Ecodown® Insulation), for shoes: upper material, lining material and sole. All small accessories or byproducts (for example buttons, zippers, sewing thread, shoelace, buttons or packaging) are not required to meet the criteria however they should be sustainable and must not belong to the prohibited materials listed below.
The brand must make a statement of assurance on each criterion and/or tick the respective material in our organic, recycled, upcycled, eco material libraries. The material and/or statement will appear in the listing under the respective criterion. If a material is not listed, the brand can add this material or can contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we will check if the material meets the ECO ALPHABET requirements.
The criteria handcrafted, art, local, zero waste, non-toxic, vegan, and give back are optional.
The entire collection must comply with the Fair Trade criterion.
The Fair Trade criterion focuses on the production process (including the CUT-MAKE-TRIM stage), which is the most labour-intensive part of the production process. All products in the collection must be developed under the brand’s own monitoring and/or the brand must have a direct contract with the producer/ manufacturer. Fair trade means that 100% of the collection must be produced under good working conditions, regardless of whether the production process takes place in a developed region or developing region. Production that takes place in a least developed region is not allowed under any circumstances. Good working conditions comply with the internationally recognized Standards of the ILO International Labour Organisation through the United Nations:
1. Employment is freely chosen (ILO Conventions No. 29 and 105)
2. No discrimination (ILO Conventions No. 100 and 111)
3. No child labor (ILO Conventions No. 138 and 182)
4. Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining (ILO Conventions No. 87, 98, 135 and 154)
5. Payment of Living Wage (ILO Conventions No. 95 and 131)
6. Reasonable Hours of Work (ILO Conventions No. 1, 14, 30, 106)
7. Safe and Healthy working conditions (ILO Conventions No. 155)
8. Legally Binding employment relationship (ILO Conventions No. 158, 175, 177, 181)
Organic material is produced from a natural resource such as plant or animal fibres grown or bred in accordance with organic farming standards. The renewable organic source must be free from herbicides, pesticides, insecticides and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Organic material originating from forestry must not contribute directly or indirectly to deforestation or forest degradation. All animal fibres must be free from cruelty. Freedom from cruelty means that no animals are killed or harmed and that all animals are treated with respect by promoting health and welfare.
Organic material must contain a minimum of 95% organic material and a maximum of 5% (virgin) synthetic fibres, but 25% (virgin) synthetic fibres each are allowed for socks, leggings and sportswear. The organic material can be 100% pure or a blend of the organic materials listed in our material library.
1. Example: 100% cotton (GOTS certified)
2. Example: 50% hemp, 50% linen
3. Example: 95% cotton (GOTS certified), 5% lycra
4. Example: 75% wool (GOTS certified), 23% polyamide, 2% elastane (for socks)
Recycled material is material that has been recovered or removed from the waste stream during the manufacturing process or after use by the consumer and then transformed into new material. The material must be recycled without harming nature and without using harmful chemicals or inherently problematic substances that are classified by REACH as hazardous to human health and the environment.
Recycled material must contain at least 70% fibers derived from recycled resources and may contain a maximum of 10% (virgin) synthetic fibers, but 25% (virgin) synthetic fibers for socks, leggings and sportswear.
1. Example: 70% recycled polyester, 25% cotton, 5% Lycra
2. Example: 95% ECONYL®, 5% elastan
3. Example: Piña fiber
4. Example: 70% recycled denim, 25% linen, 5% elastan
All upcycled materials used in the collection must have already existed and have been reused. Upcycled material has not been produced or recycled, but has been transformed into a new product. These materials come from pre-consumer or post-consumer waste.
a) Pre-consumer waste can be for example excess material such as offcuts: fabric remnants left over from cutting out patterns, deadstock material or similar.
Example: Silk deadstock material
b) Post-consumer waste can be for example used plastic bottles, vintage garments, second-hand clothing or similar.
Example: Shaved post-consumer plastic bottles
Eco material must have less negative effects on the environment than conventional material and is compostable, naturally biodegradable and/or recyclable (closed loop / circular). However, the process for converting the raw material into an eco material should be practised with a low carbon footprint, sustainable water and energy savings and without the use of harmful chemicals as required by REACH. In most cases, earth-friendly material is an innovative tech material developed by science. Here are the options of what it can be:
a) Natural material produced with a traditional process that supports a community and culture.
b) Cellulose-based man-made fibre obtained from the bark, wood or leaves of plants and originating from sustainably managed forests.
Example: TENCEL® (Lyocell by Lenzing)
c) Biosynthetic fiber that consists of polymers made from renewable resources, either wholly or partly.
Example: MICROSILK™ (BOLD THREADS)
d) Bio-tech material
Example: Modern Meadow Lab-Grown Leather
e) A fibre blend based on the listed ORGANIC, UPCYCLED, RECYCLED, EARTH-FRIENDLY materials with a maximum of 10% (virgin) synthetic fibres, but 25% (virgin) synthetic fibres each for socks, leggings and sportswear.
Example: 30% Organic Cotton (GOTS certified), 30% Recycled Polyester, 30% ECONYL®, 10% Lycra
f) An alternative material to replace conventional material for products for which industry has so far developed little environmental or ethical solutions.
1. Example: Cellulose Acetate instead of plastic for frames.
2. Example: Lab-Created Diamond
100% of the collection must be produced in the same country where the brand’s head office is located.
Every product in the entire collection must be handmade. Handcrafted products are those made by artisans, either entirely by hand or with the aid of hand tools or even mechanical means, as long as the direct manual contribution of the artisan remains the essential part of the final product. For hand dyeing and similar see criterion Art.
1. Example: Hand-woven garment (e.g. tweed or bouclé often seen in Haute Couture collections)
2. Example: Hand-woven basket (the basket may be lined, as the hand-woven part is the most essential part of the product)
For at least one product in the entire collection, the artwork must be an essential part of the product design. The work of art can be, for example, hand dying, painting, embroidery.
Examples: Tie-dye, Tambour embroidery, Ari embroidery and more.
Zero Waste refers to strategical sustainable processes with the goal to produce the least waste. This includes the business model, design model, recycling model and customer services.
1. Example: Zero waste pattern design (e.g. Kimono)
2. Example: Zero waste production (e.g. whole garment knitting) or reuse of cut-off.
3. Example: Made-to-order
4. Example: Repair service
5. Example: Take-back-scheme
The brand will donate at least 1% of its profits generated by the sale of the collection or part of the collection to a recognized non-profit organization to support a humanitarian aid, social or environmental project. This can be the promotion and support of women’s, children’s or animal rights, building schools, educational projects, health care, access to safe and clean water, enabling vaccines or a similar project.
Real Exotic Skin
Down and/or Feathers from life plucked birds
Rabbit Hair (Angora i.a.)
Horn, Ivory, Coral, Turtle Armature, Tortoiseshell, Nacre
Prohibited chemical inputs:
(These chemical inputs must not be used in all processing stages regardless if applied as a pure substance or as part of a preparation)
Aromatic and Halogenated Solvents (used to create plastics like Polyester, Nylon, PET, PVC or paints/coatings i.a.)
Brominated and Chlorinated Flame Retardants (used as a textile application to reduce flammability i.a.)
Chlorinated Benzenes (used to dissolve other substances during manufacturing and to clean fabrics i.a.)
Dioxin and/or Dioxin-producing Bleach
Chlorophenols including their Salts and Esters (used for dyeing i.a.)
Complexing Agents and Surfactants (used as surface wetting for textile finishing processes to accelerate the penetration of finishing liquors i.a.)
Cyanide (used for mining gold and/or silver i.a.)
Formaldehyde and other short-chain Aldehydes (used to prevent shrinkage i.a.)
Fungicides and Biocides (used for the protection of textiles, nonwovens, and other materials to avoid mold growth)
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) (Genetically modified organisms (GMO) are plants, animals, and microorganisms which have been altered genetically)
Heavy Metals: e.g. Cadmium, Carbon, Lead, Mercury, Nickel, Silver, Copper and Chromium (used in certain dyes products and pigments used for textiles and/or accessories. Uses of chromium include certain textile processes, leather tanning, and metal recovery i.a.)
Inputs like Azo Dyes and inorganic Pigments (used for dyeing i.a.)
Inputs containing functional Nanoparticles (used to improve different functionalities of the textiles like water-repellence, dirt-repellence, self-cleaning, UV absorption, i.a.)
Organotin Compounds (used in sportswear, socks, and shoes to prevent odor caused by the breakdown of sweat i.a.)
Paraffins (substances and preparations that are prohibited for application in textiles with a recognized internationally or a nationally valid legal character i.a.)
Per- and Polyfluorinated Compounds (PFC) (used for leather and textile products to make them water- and stainproof i.a.)
Plasticizers (used as a softener for flexibility and durability i.a.)
Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (used as textile softener i.a.)
Short-chain Chlorinated (used as flame retardants and finishing agents for leather and textiles i.a.).
Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH – also known as caustic soda or lye) and Carbon disulfide, hydrolysis alkalization combined with multi-phase bleaching (used to produce rayon made from cellulose fibers. The source of cellulose can be wood, paper, cotton fiber or bamboo i.a.)
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
Nude pictures, pornographic pictures or backgrounds, unnaturally retouched pictures, racist pictures.
This list is continuously updated! If a hazardous material, and/or chemical, and/or process is not listed, please contact us at email@example.com and we will be sure to follow up. You can report fraud, competition or trademark infringements immediately to firstname.lastname@example.org so that they can be dealt with.