Textile Exchange (formerly known as Organic Exchange) is a non-profit company incorporated in 2002 and is committed to the responsible expansion of textile sustainability across the global textile value chain. The headquarters are in the USA with staff and contractors in 8 countries. Textile Exchange has developed several standards for the textile industry to support specific claims.
- Content Claim Standard – The Content Claim Standard is a chain of custody standard that provides companies with a tool to verify that one or more specific input materials are in a final product. It requires that each organisation along the supply chain takes sufficient steps to ensure that the integrity and identity of the input material is preserved. It does not validate any claims about a product beyond the amount of a specific material that is in it. The standard does not limit which type of input material may be claimed, and therefore has broad application potential.
- Organic Content Standard – The OCS are chain-of-custody standards that give third party verification to a final product containing a given amount of organically grown cotton. The OCS replaces the previous OE 100 and OE Blended standards and is applied within the framework of the CCS. The OCS does not address the use of chemicals or any other aspects of production beyond the integrity of the organic fibre.
- Recycled Content Standard - The Recycled Claim Standard is intended for use with any product that contains at least 5% Recycled Material. Each stage of production is required to be certified, beginning at the recycling stage and ending at the last seller in the final business-to-business transaction. The RCS does not address social or environmental aspects of processing and manufacturing, quality, or legal compliance.
- Global Recycled Standard - The GRS is intended for companies that are making and/or selling products with recycled content. The standard applies to the full supply chain and addresses traceability, environmental principles, chemical restrictions, social requirements, and labelling. Developed with the textile industry in mind, the GRS may also be applied to products from any industry.
- Responsible Down Standard - The RDS allows companies to ensure that the down in their products comes from ethically treated geese. The chain of custody of the certified down is backed up by Textile Exchange’s Content Claim Standard.
- Responsible Wool Standard (RWS). This new standard is a global benchmark for animal welfare and land management practices in sheep farming. The RWS provides the industry with a tool to ensure sheep are raised with respect to their Five Freedoms, prohibits mulesing, and includes strict guidelines on other practices such as tail docking, shearing, and on-farm slaughter. Farms will be required to have strict management practices in place for the protection of land used for raising sheep.
The Textile Exchange Accreditation programme is open to any certification body which meets the requirements of the programme and has been pre-approved by the scheme owner. Forms for application for pre-approval by Textile Exchange can be obtained from firstname.lastname@example.org
Certification bodies accredited under the Textile Exchange scheme are required to certify against the relevant standard and abide by the interpretations and guidance contained in the relevant Implementation Guide, Logo Guide and other guidelines developed by Textile Exchange, all of which can be downloaded from the Textile Exchange web site.
Applicant certification bodies must first apply to the scheme owner by completing the application form and paying the application fee.
Once approved the CB may apply to the IOAS using the standard IOAS application form. Given that the CCS and RCS standards may apply to any industry, the IOAS reserves the right to reject an application should that industry be deemed incompatible with the mission of the IOAS.
The requirements against which a certification body are assessed are the Accreditation and Certification Procedures for Textile Exchange Standards which can be downloaded from the Textile Exchange web site.
The Accreditation and Certification Procedures for Textile Exchange Standards demand of the IOAS that the assessment and surveillance service is conducted in line ISO/IEC 17065 and the assessment of CBs includes the following elements:
- Accreditation audit to the headquarter / main office of the initially applying Certification Body
- Witness audit performed at a representative site for the initially applying Certification Body (to verify chain of custody, protective measures against commingling etc.).
- Continuous monitoring of approved Certification Bodies, including performing at least one update accreditation visit every second year to the/an office conducting standards certifications and at least one witness or review audit every second year of granted accreditation.
- A minimum of 5 operator files, representing at least 1.5% or more of the files of operators contracted by the Certification Body should be checked on each update accreditation visit.
- Applicants are informed that Textile Exchange has the right to accompany the IOAS assessors on site visits.
On accreditation, the certification body signs an agreement with Textile Exchange and commits to pay a fee based on the number of sites certified/inspected.
First steps in accreditation are as follows:
Complete an application form and pay application fee to Textile Exchange
- Complete the standard IOAS application form
The IOAS Textile Exchange Operating Manual provides full guidance on implementation of this scheme.
Fees for IOAS accreditation against the Textile Exchange schemes are presented in the standard IOAS fee schedule.
All standards and certification requirements are available at the Textile Exchange web site.