Quality requirements

Our aim

Fashion from hessnatur defines modern sustainability. In terms of continuously sustainable ecology and socially fair production, it is leading the way forward.

hessnatur has defined extremely stringent guidelines, which are developed in-house and continually updated using the experience and high level of expertise that hessnatur has gained over many years of working in the specialist textile industry.

The guidelines are based on the following basic requirements:

  • The finished product must not pose a toxicological threat to humans and must be produced using eco-friendly processes.
  • The hessnatur quality guidelines are used in all process steps throughout the production chain – from cultivating fibres to sewing garments.

The key requirements are summarised below.

Requirements for fibre selection

Proof of origin must be provided for all fibres. For fibres from controlled organic cultivation/animal husbandry, evidence of the certified organic production must be provided.

The following are permitted:

All natural fibres

  •    Preference is given to natural fibres from controlled organic cultivation/animal husbandry
  •    All fibres that meet sustainability standards (regenerated fibres, recycled fibres)
  •    Exceptions: elastane, up to 8% for greater functionality

Notes:

Many fibres are not available yet in certified quality or in sufficient quantities. Nevertheless, these fibres are subject to the same high standards as all hessnatur textiles and are only processed once they have been tested for harmful substances.

The following are generally not permitted:

  •   The use of fibres from genetically modified origins (e.g. plants, seeds).
  •   The practice of mulesing in the production of pure new wool.

Requirements for agents/substances

Basically, all compounds that are toxic to humans and the environment are banned from use in production. Based on many years of experience and close collaboration with professionals in manufacturing businesses and institutes, hessnatur has compiled a list of banned substances, including specific substances such as PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate) and PVC (polyvinyl chloride) or substances with certain toxicity classifications.

Compounds that are banned from use include:

  •   Generally, all substances that are carcinogenic, harmful to reproduction and mutagenic
  •   Substances that cause allergies
  •   Compounds classified as PBTs (persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic) or vPvBs (very persistent and very bioaccumulative)

Requirements for manufacturing processes

Our goal is a manufacturing process that is not detrimental to humans or the environment. Certain manufacturing processes are generally not permitted for hessnatur garments as they pollute the environment or leave harmful residues on the finished product. Instead, we use innovative alternative procedures, some of which have been developed by hessnatur itself.

Spinning, weaving, knitting

Not permitted: because: hessnatur procedure:
Heavy metal-based oils, mineral oils, finishes based on synthetic resins Environmental pollution Substances based on natural raw materials Paraffin and paraffin oils
Pretreatment of fibres
Chlorine bleach Environmental pollution Oxygen-based bleachings
Optical brighteners Changes the fibre Environmental pollution Use permitted for selected materials/garments acc. to GOTS1.
Chlorination of wool or use of synthetic resins to minimise felting Changes the fibre Environmental pollution Purely mechanical procedure acc. to GOTS1
Use of alkylphenolethoxylates (APEO), ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA), diethylene triamine pentaacetic acid (DPTA), and other critical complexing agents as detergent substances Environmental pollution e.g. washing with soda or Marseille soap
Dyeing and printing
Dyes containing heavy metals (with the exception of copper) and heavy metal-based dyeing processes (e.g. rechroming of dyes) Environmental & product pollution Use of high-quality dyes that are free of heavy metals and have been tested for harmful substances
Noxious printing processes (e.g. discharge printing) Environmental pollution Water-based printing pastes and procedures, free from critical plasticisers such as phthalates
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)-based and phthalate-based printing pastes Environmental & product pollution Water-based printing pastes and procedures, free from critical plasticisers such as phthalates
Finishes
Chemical refining agents

  • Treatment against moths
  • Antimicrobial treatment
  • Synthetic resin treatments used for easy-care, non-iron or anti-felting finishes
Environmental & product pollution
  • Mechanical treatments using heat, pressure or steam
  • Treatments using plant enzymes, e.g. for denim washes
Fabric softeners

  • Condensation products made from aminoethylethanolamine (AEEA) and fatty-acid derivatives/AEEA/fatty-acid condensates
  • Quaternary ammonium compounds
Environmental & product pollution Use of fabric softeners acc. to GOTS1

Requirements for additives & accessories

Ecological consequences in every detail: only if the use of natural materials does not enable the garment’s required functionality, do we use synthetic materials.

  •     The requirements of the Oeko-Tex Standard 100, class 12, must be met at all times.
  •     The use of PVC and other halogenated synthetic materials is not permitted.
  •     Metals must be free from chromium and galvanised without the use of chrome and nickel.

Requirements for storage and transport

  •   Packaging materials must not contain PVC.
  •   No pesticides must be used during storage and transport. Storage in warehouses that are contaminated with pesticides is not permitted.
  •   Products must always be stored and transported in such a way as to prevent contamination with conventional products and prohibited substances or the mixing up of contents.
  •   The gassing of transport containers or wooden packaging materials and/or hessnatur products to prevent pest infestation is not permitted.

Sustainable production

All processing steps must be carried out in compliance with the relevant national and local environmental regulations (including those specifications relating to exhaust air, waste water emissions, waste materials and the handling of sewage).

  •  Waste water from all wet finishing factories must be cleaned using a fully functional internal or external waste water treatment facility before being introduced back into the environment.
  •  All factories (in particular textile finishing plants) should have an established environment management system.
  •  Processes should always use the smallest amount of water, energy and chemicals possible. Efforts should be made to continually reduce consumption.
  •  All sewing factories are subject to the hessnatur monitoring programme for social standards3.

Implementation & monitoring

The guidelines are implemented in close collaboration with our suppliers, who we provide with intensive support with regard to practical application and any questions they may have.

For every garment and material used, we check the entire textile chain to ensure that it has been manufactured in accordance with our ecological standards. The data is documented, checked and evaluated, and monitored on site where necessary. The controlled organic production of fibre is subject to continuous monitoring by independent certification organisations and certificates are provided as documentary evidence.

The detailed documentation and verification of garments also provides the basis for hessnatur4 certification in acc. with the Global Organic Textile Standard1.

In addition to these measures, the produced fabrics are also subject to regular testing for harmful substances in accordance with the strict guidelines set out by hessnatur. This testing is carried out by independent test institutes. No traces of any compounds that are banned from the manufacturing process may be found on the end product.

Alongside our strict pollutant guidelines, we also check every delivery of goods for technical material quality, e.g. colour fastness, shrinkage values and shelf life in accordance with the recommendations of Forschungskuratorium Textil e.V.5.



The complete film (17:19 Min.) can be seen on the Website of GOTS

References

1) Global Organic Textile Standard
2) Öko-Tex Standard 100
3) hessnatur social standards
4) hessnatur GOTS certificate 2015
hessnatur GOTS-certificate 2015
hessnatur GOTS Compliance-certificate 2015
5) Forschungskuratorium Textil e.V.