ECO ALPHABET STANDARD FOR SMALL ECO BRANDS

The ECO ALPHABET STANDARD was established in 2016 by Antonia Leonie Böhlke after extensive research and many years of work. The ECO ALPHABET STANDARD IS COPYRIGHT-protected (including the text and context of the criteria). Any kind of copying will be prosecuted.

We have established the ECO ALPHABET STANDARD based on the world’s most recognized human rights and sustainability standards and certifications. Before a brand receives its certification, the brand CEO (or a person authorized to represent the company) must complete an application form identifying their sustainability and social responsibility practices and providing transparent information about the brand, company and its product range. The brand must indicate which criteria the brand meets and must successfully pass our review process. The criteria are clearly stated in each step of the application form.

We go through the submitted information carefully and review them against our requirements and criteria. Our review process involves, among other things, doing some spot checks by looking at the code of conduct, material / ingredients and certification specifications on the brands website, for example. We have compiled a comprehensive library of textiles, fibers, materials, ingredients and certifications that match our criteria and list of prohibitions. We use this list internally to match the brands’ manufacturing, materials and ingredient claims.

As the topic of sustainability continues to evolve, we are also constantly updating our ECO ALPHABET STANDARD. So we reserve the right to modify the ECO ALPHABET STANDARD as well as the application form at any time and without giving reasons. We also expect our members to act responsibly and monitor the industry to ensure they are working with the most sustainable options whenever possible. Brands are responsible for providing truthful information and must comply with our requirements and criteria at all times.

General Requirements

1. The brand’s product range must be offered at the point of sale (POS) and must be geared towards the sale of sustainable products.
2. The entire product range of the brand must be produced directly by the brand’s own factory or by manufacturers with whom the brand is in direct contact – production through sub-contractors is not allowed.
3. The brand must comply with the GOOD WORKING CONDITIONS and SOCIAL JUSTICE criteria.
4. 100% of the total product range must meet at least one of the Materials / Ingredients: CERTIFIED ORGANIC, NATURAL, MADE WITH ORGANIC MATERIAL, MADE WITH SUSTAINABLE RAW MATERIAL, RECYCLED, UPCYCLED, SCIENCE-BASED, SUSTAINABLE BLEND, ECO PATCHWORK.
5. No product in the entire product range must fall under the List of Prohibitions. 

Criteria

HUMAN RIGHTS (mandatory)

GOOD WORKING CONDITIONS

The entire product collection must comply with the GOOD WORKING CONDITIONS criterion. The GOOD WORKING CONDITIONS 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. GOOD WORKING CONDITIONS means that 100% of the collection should 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)

SOCIAL JUSTICE

The brand guarantees social justice and equal opportunities regardless of race, gender, class, disability, and ethnic identity in its internal and external business environments and places a positive value on differences among the people with whom it works.

MATERIALS / INGREDIENTS (mandatory)

100% of the total product range must meet at least one of the materials / ingredients criteria: CERTIFIED ORGANIC PRODUCT, MADE WITH CERTIFIED ORGANIC MATERIAL, NATURAL, MADE WITH SUSTAINABLE RAW MATERIAL, RECYCLED, UPCYCLED, SCIENCE-BASED, SUSTAINABLE BLEND, ECO PATCHWORK. No product in the entire product range must fall under the LIST OF PROHIBITIONS.

CERTIFIED ORGANIC PRODUCT

The finished product must be certified organic. Examples of certifications include GOTS, SOIL ASSOCIATION ORGANIC, COSMOS ORGANIC, BioGro ORGANIC. A certified organic product means that it has been produced from a natural resource such as plant or animal fibers grown or bred according to organic farming standards. The renewable organic source must be free of 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 fibers 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.

MADE WITH CERTIFIED ORGANIC MATERIAL

The finished product must contain a minimum of 70% certified organic material. Organic material has been produced from a natural resource such as plant or animal fibers grown or bred according to organic farming standards. The renewable organic source must be free of herbicides, pesticides, insecticides and genetically modified organisms (gmos). Organic material / ingredients originating from forestry must not contribute directly or indirectly to deforestation or forest degradation. All animal fibers 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. 

Example: 70% organic cotton (GOTS certified), 30% Lyocell

NATURAL

The finished product must contain a minimum of 95% natural material. For cosmetics: the 5% must consist of ingredients that are proven healthy and safe for human health.

MADE WITH SUSTAINABLE RAW MATERIAL

The finished product must be made from 70% sustainable raw material. Sustainable raw materials are natural materials produced from renewable raw sources and must be produced with a sustainable process that supports a community and culture. Sustainable raw material originating from forestry must not contribute directly or indirectly to deforestation or forest degradation.

1. example: 80% hemp / 20% cotton

2. example: khadi

3. example: better cotton

4. example: CmiA (Cotton made in Africa)

5. Cork

RECYCLED

Recycled material is material that has been recovered or removed from the waste stream during the manufacturing process or before or after use by the consumer and then transformed into new material or yarn. 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% material derived from recycled resources and may contain a maximum of 10% synthetic fibers, but 25%  synthetic fibers for socks, leggings and sportswear.

1. example: 70% recycled polyester (grs certified), 25% cotton, 5% lycra

2. example: 95% econyl®, 5% elastane

3. example: 100% regenerated wool

Please note: For fashion, accessories, footwear, home textiles, the criteria refer to the main materials. Main material is the essential part of the final product including fillings and insulation, for footwear: upper, lining and sole. Small accessories or by-products (e.g. buttons, zippers, sewing thread, coatings, laces, buttons and packaging) do not fall under main materials, but should be sustainable and must not be prohibited materials.

UPCYCLED

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 waste for example excess material such as offcuts: fabric remnants left over from cutting out patterns, deadstock material or post-consumer waste for example vintage garments, second-hand clothing or similar.

1. example: deadstock fabric 100% silk

Please note: For fashion, accessories, footwear, home textiles, the criteria refer to the main materials. Main material is the essential part of the final product including fillings and insulation, for footwear: upper, lining and sole. Small accessories or by-products (e.g. buttons, zippers, sewing thread, coatings, laces, buttons and packaging) do not fall under main materials, but should be sustainable and must not be prohibited materials.

SCIENCE-BASED

Science-based 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 a science-based material should be practiced with a low / zero carbon footprint, sustainable water and energy savings and without the use of harmful chemicals as required by REACH and our list of prohibitions.

SCIENCE-BASED MATERIALS ARE:

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)

Biosynthetic fiber that consists of polymers made from renewable resources, either wholly or partly

Example: microsilk™ (bold threads)

Bio-tech material

Example: Lab-grown leather by Modern Maedow

Lab-created diamonds

An alternative material to replace conventional material for products for which industry has so far developed little environmental or ethical solutions

Example: cellulose acetate instead of plastic for frames

Example: certified bioplastic

Microbiome skincare

Please note: For fashion, accessories, footwear, home textiles, the criteria refer to the main materials. Main material is the essential part of the final product including fillings and insulation, for footwear: upper, lining and sole. Small accessories or by-products (e.g. buttons, zippers, sewing thread, coatings, laces, buttons and packaging) do not fall under main materials, but should be sustainable and must not be prohibited materials.

SUSTAINABLE BLEND

A sustainable blend material is based on at least two of the following pure fibers or ingredients blended together to create a material. CERTIFIED ORGANIC, NATURAL, SUSTAINABLE RAW MATERIAL, RECYCLED, UPCYCLED, SCIENCE-BASED. The ratio of each material component can be individual, but must add up to 100%.

Example: 40% GOTS certified organic cotton (organic material), 20% silk (natural material), 20% linen (sustainable raw material), 10% recycled polyester (recycled material), 10% Lyocell (science-based material)

ECO PATCHWORK

Eco patchwork material consists of different materials sewn together. The materials must be based on at least two of the following materials: MADE WITH CERTIFIED ORGANIC MATERIAL, NATURAL, MADE WITH SUSTAINABLE RAW MATERIAL, RECYCLED, UPCYCLED, SCIENCE-BASED MATERIAL. The ratio of the individual material components is not important, but must add up to 100%.

Example: upcycled denim (upcycled material), ECONYL® (recycled material), Lyocell (science-based material)

ADDITIONAL CRITERIA (optional)

FEMALE-LED

Minimum 50% females must be in leadership role.

BIPOC-LED

Minimum 50% Black, Indigenous Or Person Of Color must be in leadership role.

ZERO WASTE DESIGN

Zero Waste Design refers to strategic sustainable design processes with the goal of producing as little waste as possible and reducing plastic and material consumption.

1. example: waste-free pattern design (e.g. kimono)

2. example: waste-free production (e.g. whole garment knitting or reusing off-cuts)

3. example: made-to-order production

ECO PACKAGING

Eco packaging refers to sustainable materials that enclose or protect products for distribution, storage, sale, and use.

CLIMATE NEUTRALITY

Climate neutrality means that the company has gathered data to calculated its carbon footprint / emissions, that the company generates to operate the brand. The company purchased carbon credits to offset these emissions.

NON-TOXIC

The finished product must be tested for harmful substances and must be non-toxic certified (e.g. OEKO-TEX, GOTS, soil association organic, ECOCERT cosmos organic, biogro organic). At least 50% of the product range must be certified non-toxic.

VEGAN

At least 50% of the product range must be vegan. Vegan refers to the finished product. No material, adhesive or by-product may be associated with animals.

CRUELTY-FREE

The entire product range must be 100% cruelty-free. Freedom from cruelty means that no animals are killed or harmed and that all animals are treated with respect by promoting health and well-being.

LOCALLY-MADE

At least 50% of the product collection must be produced in the same state where the brand’s headquarters are located. Fashion production is focused on the CUT-MAKE-TRIM phase, which is the most labor-intensive part of the production process.

HANDCRAFTED

Handcrafted products are those made entirely by hand by artisans or with the use of hand tools (such as needle and thread for fashion), looms or other traditional hand tools, but without the use of electric machines. At least 50% of the total product range must be handmade.

1. Example: Hand-woven garments (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 important part of the product)  

3. Example: Hand knitted garment

4. Example: Handcrafted skin care

5. Example: Handcrafted jewelry

CULTURAL SUPPORT

The brand supports local traditions and communities, democratic politics and education especially in the countries where the brand operates.

GIVE BACK

The brand must 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.

1. Example: Black Lives Matter

2. Example: Save The Children

3. Example: Greenpeace

4. Example: Sumatran Orangutan Conversation Programme (SOCP)

PRODUCT LIFE

Product Life refers to the entire product range and not to the packaging. The sustainability goal is to support a circular economy with the products. At least 50% of the entire product range must apply to the respective product life cycle (Recyclable, Repairable, Refillable, Physically durable, Non-physically durable (e.g. timeless colors), Certified home-compostable, Certified compostable, Certified biodegradable, Disposable).

PROHIBITIONS

THE FOLLOWING PROHIBITIONS APPLY TO ALL BRANDS AND THEIR ENTIRE PRODUCT RANGE!

Prohibited products:

– Electronic products (for example electronic diffuser, electronic shaver, electronic tooth brush, lighting etc.)

– Horn, Ivory, Coral, Turtle Armature, Tortoiseshell, Nacre

– Weight loss or dietetic products, medicine or the like

– Rabbit Hair (Angora i.a.)

– Real Exotic Skin

 Down and/or Feathers from life plucked birds 

– Tampons, pads and liners that are not certified organic

– Chemical Sunscreens

– Honey, wax, bee products from beekeepers who do not support and do not help maintain healthy bee colonies

– All ingredients/materials suspected of being carcinogenic or endocrine disruptors

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.)

Detergents

Endocrine Disruptors

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: Cadmium, Carbon, Lead, Mercury, Nickel, 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.)

Minerals: Asbestos

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.)

Petrochemical dyes

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 alkalizationcombined 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.)

Sulfuric Acid

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

Exceptions: Caustic soda and carbon disulfide are only permitted in a closed production cycle and if the end product is oeko-tex certified.

Prohibited processes:

Industrial sandblasting, stonewashing

Prohibited ingredients:

Animal Derived Ingredients
BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole)
BHT (Butylated Hydroxytolune)
Carcinogens (e.g. Formaldehyde and chemicals in formulas that release formaldehyde: 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3 diol (bronopol), diazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, quaternium-15)
Carmine
Cyclic Silicones
EDTA
Ethanolamines
Ethoxylated Ingredients (e.g. Polyethylene Glycol, PEG, Polypropylene Glycol…)
Fluorid
Formaldehyde
Heavy metals (e.g. Lead, Nickel, Cadmium,…)
Hydroquinone
Japanese Honeysuckle
Lanolin and Keratin
Methyl Cellosolve or 2-Methoxyethanol
Methylchloroisothiazolinone and Methylisothiazolinone
Mica
Nanoparticles
Nitromusks
Palm Oil and Palm-Derived Ingredients
Parabens
Perfluorinated compound (PFASs or PFCs)
Petroleum-Derived and/or Synthetic Ingredients
Petrolatum and Paraffin
Phenoxyethanol
Phthalates
Polycyclic Musks
Quaternary Ammonium Compounds
Resorcinol
Retinyl Palmitate
Silicones (Linear)
Synthetic Fragrance
Talc
Titanium Dioxide (exception: sunscreen, which is not filled in a spray bottle)
Toluene
Triclosan and Triclocarban
Hazard chemical ingredient combinations

Generally, all ingredients that are suspected of being carcinogenic or endocrine disruptors

Prohibited content:

No nude photos, pornographic, unnaturally retouched pictures, racist, intolerant, hateful gestures or symbols. No photos that contain text, logos, emoji, stickers, filters, theme frames, watermarks or censor blocks placed over the photos.

References: ifaw.orgCITESECOSGreenpeace.orgEuropean Commission, ECHA/REACH

The LIST OF PROHIBITIONS is continuously updated. If a hazardous material and/or chemical input and/or process is not listed, please contact us at info@mochni.com and we will be sure to follow up.

The ECO ALPHABET criteria were established in 2016 by Antonia Leonie Böhlke after extensive research and many years of work. THE ECO ALPHABET CRITERIA ARE COPYRIGHT-protected (including the text and context of the criteria). Any kind of copying will be prosecuted.

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