Sustainable certifications - Social Impact

What is social sustainability?

Here is a guide for brands to educate themselves. The following are examples of organisations that assess and traces a company social sustainability throughout the supply chain.

This article is Part 2 of our Certifications Guides for sustainability in fashion industry.

Social Impact

The social impact considers the effects on the employees of the brand and throughout the supply chain regarding wages, well-being and working conditions. Also, the social impacts extend to the effects of the manufacturing processes on the well-being of those connected to it. This includes the effects on people and animals connected to the materials and processes used in the manufacturer of the products.


Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI)

Where is the company based?

The Business Social Compliance is part of the strategies created by the Belgian based company Amfori.

What does the company focus on?

The BSCI is a management system that helps retailers and brands to navigate and create socially sustainable initiatives. The BSCI focuses on upholding international labour standards, protecting workers rights, social compliance and improving working conditions within the supply chains. The BSCI is not a certification or auditing company.

Source: Amfori


Fairwear Foundation

Where is the company based?

The Fairwear foundation is based in Amsterdam’s but works with manufacturers and brands from around the world.

What does the company focus on?

The purpose of the organization is to promote and implement fair working conditions for garments workers in the fashion and textile industries. The foundation provides practical steps for companies to support the social sustainability of garment workers. The practical steps are based around the following labour practices:

  •  Employment is freely chosen
  • Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining
  • There is no discrimination in employment
  • No exploitation of child labour
  • Payment of living wage
  • Reasonable hours of work
  • Safe and healthy working conditions
  • Legally binding employment relationship

Source: Fairwear


Fairtrade Foundation

Where is the company based?

The Fairtrade Foundation operates worldwide with its headquarters in the UK.

What does the company focus on?

The purpose of this foundation is to enforce fair prices, good working conditions and economic sustainability for workers and farmers in the developing world. This initiative helps support the workers’ livelihood and enable a stable future. This involves an array of industries including the food and fashion industry.

Source: Fairtrade



Where is the company based?

Flocert is the audit and certification company for fair-trade standards and based in Germany.

What does the company focus on?

The company provides independent audits of brands and retailers to review and improve their social sustainability practices. They process three audit systems ; Fairtrade, Edge and SMETA.

Source: Flocert


ISO 9001

Where is the company based?

The company is based in Switzerland and works with a range of industries.

What does the company focus on?

This certification focuses on improving the quality of the products and services offered by a company. This assesses management systems of the operations on various levels. This award of the certification reinforces a companies abilities to make and offer consistent quality in their operations.

Source: ISO


Responsible Down Standard (RDS)

Where is the company based?

The Responsible Down Standard is part of the non-profit organisation, Textile Exchange which is based in the USA.

What does the company focus on?

THE RDS certification is voluntary certification to certify companies use of RDS materials in their products. This has been developed with the input of animal welfare organisations, industry experts and retailers.

Source:Responsible Down Standard


SA8000 – Social Accountability International Standard

Where is the company based?

SA8000 is a standard developed by the non-profit organisation, Social Accountability International (SAI) based in the USA.

What does the company focus on?

The standard promotes and certifies social sustainability through developing requirements for factory conditions and organisation. This certificate is applicable for many industries including the textile industry.

Source: SAI

This article is part of our Sustainable Certifications Guide series of articles. For more information on sustainability certifications options, please have a look at our related articles.

Sustainable Certifications Guide Part 1

Sustainable Certifications Guide Part 3

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