Press releases, materials for the press and information
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Deutsche Bahn commits to fair corporate clothing with the Green Button
Deutsche Bahn has set the goal of certifying all its corporate clothing with the government-run textile label Green Button. The main supplier is already certified. This means that in future all 43,000 Deutsche Bahn employees in the customer-related field service will wear sustainable corporate clothing.
The new outfits for the train attendants, the employees in the on-board bistros, the service centres and the service staff in Deutsche Bahn's stations were completely redesigned by fashion designer Guido Maria Kretschmer and are subject to ambitious sustainability criteria in addition to high standards of design and quality. This commitment of Deutsche Bahn to social responsibility is reinforced and made visible by certification with the Green Button.
Particularly in the area of public and private procurement with often large quantities, the Green Button can have a significant effect on a rethinking towards more sustainability in the entire textile industry.
Read more about this in the German press release of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.
BMZ statement on the report by Femnet and Public Eye
The statement of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) on the report of the non-governmental organisations Femnet and Public Eye “Hält der Grüner Knopf was er verspricht?” [Does the Green Button live up to its promises?] can be downloaded via the PDF button.
Minister Müller welcomes first successful audit for Green Button outside Germany
The government-run textile label "Green Button" is beginning to play an increasingly important role at the international level, too. The first company outside Germany has now successfully undergone the auditing process for the label - Beirholm Væverier from Denmark ("Væverier" is Danish for "weaving mill"). In the period since the Green Button was introduced in September 2019, 59 companies and their products have completed the process for using the mark, meaning that they comply with its ambitious social and environmental standards.
German Development Minister Gerd Müller stated: "Sustainability is becoming a stronger trend than ever before. I am delighted that Beirholm, a Danish enterprise, has now joined the effort. The Green Button is an international label. There are further international businesses that are currently going through the auditing process.''
Beirholm produces sustainable textiles for hotels and hospitals. We need companies like that! After all, more and more public and private customers are looking for sustainability in the products they buy. For example, the German State of Bavaria is planning to restrict its textiles procurement to products that have been awarded the Green Button or similar labels. Germany's two large faith-based social service agencies, Caritas and Diakonie, have opted for sustainable textiles, too. The 2.2 million beds alone which they have in their 56,000 facilities require huge quantities of textiles. During the current COVID-19 crisis in particular, solidarity and responsibility are extremely important - including with regard to the people who make our garments. Sustainable supply chains are the global social issue of the 21st century."
Beirholm CEO Peter Beirholm said: "Sustainability knows no borders. We are proud to be the first company outside Germany to have been certified with the Green Button. This label offers a holistic approach to sustainability and, being government-run, provides guidance and confidence. We look forward to working with the Green Button to further strengthen sustainability in our industry and to further enhance the profile of the Green Button beyond Germany's borders."
The government-run "Green Button" textile label, which was introduced in 2019, provides reliable guidance for consumers who wish to buy sustainably produced textiles. The label requires compliance with a total of 46 stringent social and environmental standards, from labour rights all the way to testing for chemical residues. Compliance is monitored by independent auditing bodies. What is special about the Green Button is that it is more than a traditional product label. It is the first label that also gives systematic attention to whether the company as a whole meets its due diligence obligations. Does the company know the risks in its supply chain? Is it addressing them? Do garment workers have access to complaints mechanisms? A few products "for show" are not enough. The entire company has to embark on this journey. Many enterprises that wish to use the Green Button have to move forward in order to meet its ambitious standards.
The Green Button was devised as an international label from the beginning - it complies with EU legislation and WTO rules, and auditing is based on harmonised international standards. An application has also been submitted to the European Union Intellectual Property Office to make the Green Button a European Union certification mark.
- Just a year after its introduction, the Green Button has already become established in the market - in spite of the COVID-19 crisis, which has hit the textile industry particularly hard. In the first half of 2020, more than 50 million textile items with the Green Button label were sold, of which 35 million were garments. This is a market share of 1.5 to 3 per cent - a respectable achievement in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis.
- Green Button products are now available for all tastes and purses - you can dress in Green Button garments from head to toe. There are hats, T-shirts and sneakers, and also bedding, backpacks and even tents.
- One-third of all Germans have heard about the Green Button. They state clearly that they are in favour of a certification mark run by the German government to monitor compliance with social and environmental standards.
- An independent market survey carried out by GfK market research institute showed that the Green Button is set to become a success story.
About Beirholm Væverier
Beirholm is a family business in the textile sector. It is based in Kolding, Denmark, and celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2020. It develops and sells high-performance textiles for hotels, restaurants, nursing homes and hospitals, with a focus on the European textile services industry. Beirholm pursues a policy of transparency, commitment to sustainability and high social standards along its entire textile supply chain.
The government-run textile label Green Button one year on
A year ago, Germany's Federal Development Minister Gerd Müller and 27 pioneering companies introduced the government-run Green Button certification label. The label offers consumers clear guidance when purchasing socially and environmentally manufactured textiles. Some 52 companies have now signed up to the certification scheme, including some of the very first sustainability pioneers, sport brands, family companies, medium-sized enterprises and large international retailers.
Minister Müller: 'In spite of a difficult economic situation, the Green Button has established itself on the market. I’m delighted that we now have 52 companies on board. We’ve doubled the number in the first year, despite the textile industry being particularly hard hit by the coronavirus crisis. It's now possible to dress head to toe in Green Button products – from hats to T-shirts to training shoes. Bed linen, backpacks and tents are also available certified with the Green Button. The label is available for every taste and all budgets, proving that sustainable fashion doesn’t have to be expensive.’
A representative study by the market research institute GfK concluded that, 'The Green Button is well on the way to becoming a success story.’ Around one third of Germans are familiar with the label which, compared to other sustainability certification labels, is a very good result after just a year. And virtually all those asked were in favour of a government-run certification label for monitoring social and environmental standards. People also know what the Green Button stands for – prohibiting child labour and dangerous chemicals and paying a minimum wage.
This trust is reflected at the shop counter: In the first half of 2020, which was a difficult economic period, more than 50 million textiles with the Green Button were sold, including 35 million items of clothing. Extrapolating the data, that gives the Green Button a market share of between 1.5 and 3 per cent. By way of comparison: In the first year after its introduction, Germany’s ‘Bio’ organic certification label had a 2-per cent market share, climbing to 3.5 per cent after seven years.
Minister Müller went on to say that, 'The Green Button is more than a textile label – it’s a symbol of our responsibility. We need a fundamental shift towards more sustainability in global supply chains. Many of our products are produced by people who up to now could barely live off what they earn. Today, some 75 million children worldwide still have to labour under exploitative conditions – and they do so for our products, too. More and more customers don’t want to accept this anymore and are demanding that producers comply with basic minimum standards. The companies participating in the Green Button label already do that. And so, one year on, the Green Button is also a blueprint for cross-sector supply chain legislation. This label shows that it can work. Even small startups can do it.'
Social welfare organisations Diakonie Deutschland and Caritas Germany are now also supporting sustainable textiles. The two organisations are the largest textile purchasers in Germany outside the public sector. For the 2.2 million beds and spaces in their 56,000 facilities alone, they require huge amounts of bed linen. On the first anniversary of the Green Button, 9 September 2020, Germany's Development Minister Gerd Müller and the President of Diakonie Deutschland, Ulrich Lilie, together with the Secretary General of Caritas Germany, Hans Jörg Millies, signed an agreement.
Müller said he was pleased that Diakonie and Caritas are supporting the Green Button, adding that private and public institutions can make a major contribution to fair supply chains through consistent sustainable procurement. He explained that, ‘The concept of Christian charity also applies to the people at the start of the supply chain, like the garment industry workers in Bangladesh who sew our products on a piecework basis.’
German Development Minister Gerd Müller welcomes federal state of Bavaria’s decision regarding sustainable textiles
Berlin – The German federal state of Bavaria and its businesses will in future only purchase textiles that have been sustainably produced and certified with labels such as the Green Button.
German Development Minister Gerd Müller on the motion now approved by the Bavarian State Parliament’s Committee on Economic Affairs:
‘The federal state of Bavaria is showing international solidarity in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. I’m delighted to see Bavaria leading the way and opting for sustainable textile procurement. This is the only way to show our solidarity with those who most urgently need it, namely the seamstresses and dyers in the countries where our textiles are produced. The Green Button represents high minimum social and environmental standards. It makes responsibility visible for consumers and procurement agencies. I hope that many of Bavaria’s local authorities, public institutions such as hospitals and businesses will follow this example.’
Many companies and indeed hospitals are already employing the Green Button label. Greiff Mode, a traditional Bamberg-based business, for instance, offers Green Button-certified workwear. The University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein in Lübeck, the largest of its kind in northern Germany, purchases certified bed linen. And just a few days ago, the Dorint hotel chain announced that it would be switching its textiles to the Green Button system.
The Green Button is the government-run certification label for sustainable textiles. 46 stringent social and environmental criteria must be met, covering a wide spectrum from wastewater to forced labour. What is special about the Green Button is that the entire company is audited, not just individual T-shirts or textiles. Offering individual products for show is not enough. The entire company must operate in a sustainable manner. 40 companies have already undergone Green Button certification since the label was launched in 2019 and offer certified products such as shoes, fashion wear, bed linen, towels, backpacks and tents.
(Source: http://www.bmz.de/20200703-1 (German only))
Dorint is first hotel chain in Germany to switch to sustainable textiles with Green Button label
The Germany-based Dorint hotel group is switching to using socially-sound and environmentally-friendly sustainable textiles. Beginning with aprons and everyday face masks for staff members, the company will also subsequently move to certified bed linen for its 10,000-plus hotel rooms and certified workwear for its 4,500 employees. German Development Minister Gerd Müller welcomes the sustainable approach and visited a Dorint hotel in Eppendorf, Hamburg. Minister Müller had introduced the new Green Button textile label in September 2019.
German Development Minister Gerd Müller: ‘I’m delighted to see Dorint leading the way and opting for sustainable textiles under the Green Button label. It’s good for the environment and for people. In times of crisis especially, solidarity and responsibility are vital, not least for the workers at the beginning of our supply chains. We wear face masks in hotels and shops because we want to take care of one another. The same must also apply to the people who manufacture the clothes we wear. Sustainability must become the norm. Dorint shows us that this is possible.’
Dirk Iserlohe, Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Dorint Hotelgroup: ‘Sustainability should be put into practice, not just talked about, and so we’ve started to re-think things in terms of where we procure our new workwear and the necessary textiles.’
By switching to sustainable textiles, the Dorint hotel chain is extending its social commitment and taking on more environmental responsibility.
About KAYA&KATO GmbH
Dorint’s workwear and textiles are manufactured by Cologne-based firm KAYA&KATO. KAYA&KATO GmbH was one of the first companies to be certified with the German Development Ministry’s Green Button textile label in September 2019.
About the Green Button
The Green Button is the government-run certification label for sustainable textiles. A total of 46 stringent social and environmental criteria must be met, covering a wide spectrum from wastewater to forced labour. What is special about the Green Button is that the entire company is audited, not just individual T-shirts or textiles. Offering individual products for show is not enough. The entire company must operate in a sustainable manner. 40 companies have already undergone Green Button certification since the label was launched in 2019 and offer Green Button-certified products.
About the Dorint Group
Headquartered in Cologne, the Dorint Group is one of Germany’s leading hotel chains. The long-established firm belongs to holding company HONESTIS AG and currently operates over 60 hotels under the brands ‘Dorint Hotels & Resorts’, ‘Hommage Luxury Hotels Collection’ and ‘Essential by Dorint’, with three hotels in Switzerland and one in Austria. The company presently employs over 4,500 staff members. 25 September 2019 marked the 60th anniversary of the ‘Dorint Hotels & Resorts’ brand.
Green Button: Expert advisory council commences work
Berlin – German Development Minister Dr Gerd Müller has appointed the members of the Green Button’s independent expert advisory council. The advisory council will advise the German Development Ministry on further developing the government-run textile label.
Müller: ‘I’m delighted that we’ve been able to appoint proven experts to the advisory council. They will help us to further develop the Green Button requirements, because the Green Button aims to protect people and the environment along the entire textile supply chain.’
The five-member advisory council is an independent expert body and comprises:
- Prof. Stefanie Lorenzen, Professor of Business Law, especially Industrial Law and Social Legislation, at the Berlin School of Economics and Law (HWR)
- Philipp von Bremen, Head of Consumer Policy Division, Federation of German Consumer Organisations (vzbv)
- Michael Windfuhr, Deputy Director, German Institute for Human Rights
- Dr. Raoul Kirmes, Head of Development of Business Segments, Deutsche Akkreditierungsstelle GmbH (DAkkS - German national accreditation body)
- Achim Lohrie, Sustainability Expert, Lohrie-Consulting
One of the focal areas of the expert advisory council will be on the establishment of a consumer-friendly system for tracking the certified products. The Green Button is also set to cover other production steps in the supply chain in future. The advisory council’s recommendations will be available to the general public.
Philipp von Bremen from the Federation of German Consumer Organisations (vzbv): ‘The Green Button should make it easier for people to find clothes produced in a socially and environmentally sustainable manner and navigate the maze of textile labels. Nonetheless, if consumers are to accept the label, the award criteria need to be effective and transparent. This is exactly what I will work to promote on the advisory council.’
The Green Button was launched by German Development Minister Dr Gerd Müller on 9 September 2019. Over 30 companies have already had their products, including T-shirts, trousers, shoes, backpacks, tents and bed linen, certified with the Green Button label.
(Source: http://www.bmz.de/20200309-2 (German only))
Largest university hospital in northern Germany switches to Green Button-certified bed linen
Lübeck – The University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein in Lübeck will in future purchase bed linen certified with the new Green Button government-run textile label.
Dr Gerd Müller, German Development Minister: ‘I’m delighted to see northern Germany’s largest university hospital taking responsibility. It’s a hospital of the future, not only due to its new facilities and state-of-the-art technology, but also because of its decision to opt for sustainable bed linen. It’s wonderful to see Lübeck using textiles displaying the new Green Button label. This means the label has reached the public procurement sector, which is a major milestone. The federal state of Schleswig-Holstein serves as a role model for the German Government and other federal states and local authorities. It’s now time for more hospitals and welfare organisations to take on responsibility and switch to sustainable procurement practices. In this way, we’ll ensure that people at the beginning of the supply chain in developing countries benefit from their work and that the environment is protected.’
German Development Minister Gerd Müller unveiled the government-run label for textiles produced in a socially and environmentally sustainable manner back in early September 2019.
The textiles are manufactured by Bocholt-based company Dibella, which has specialised in textiles for the hotel, restaurant and health care sectors.
Müller: ‘Dibella is a sustainability pioneer. It’s one of the first companies to offer textiles certified with the Green Button label. Dibella has already been working for several years within the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles, gradually implementing steps each year to improve working and environmental conditions in the textile supply chain.’
Ralf Hellmann, Managing Director, Dibella: ‘We share German Development Minister Müller’s vision of a greater sense of responsibility in textile procurement, which is why we’ve been working towards this goal from the beginning. This vision has now become reality with the Green Button and the implementation of the first sustainable procurement project in a public institution. We’re proud to be involved in this important task in cooperation with our long-standing client Sitex.’
Before a company is certified to use the Green Button, it must comply with 46 rigorous social and environmental criteria, covering a wide spectrum from wastewater to forced labour. What is special about the Green Button is that the entire company is audited, not just the product. Does it disclose suppliers? Do seamstresses in production countries have recourse to grievance mechanisms? Does the company remedy shortcomings?
There are already 27 companies on board with the Green Button label. Another 100 have expressed interest in the label and will be audited in the coming months.
(Source: http://www.bmz.de/20191108-1 (German only))
German Development Minister Gerd Müller: Working with Bangladesh for progress in the textile industry
Germany is consolidating its partnership with Bangladesh in order to improve working conditions in the textile sector. As such, cooperation is being stepped up with the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) for the purpose of further developing the Green Button. That is the outcome of a meeting between German Development Minister Gerd Müller and Bangladesh’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Abul Kalam Abdul Momen.
German Development Minister Gerd Müller: ‘The textile industry is the lifeblood of Bangladesh, but far too often it endangers the lives of the seamstresses. As consumers in Europe, we have a responsibility to the seamstresses too. The Green Button helps with this effort, serving as a sign of sustainably produced textiles. Nonetheless, the government must also play its part, which is why it’s important that Bangladesh has brought in improvements, such as raising the minimum wage in the textile sector. It needs to continue in this vein, not least to improve fire safety. Germany is offering its support in this endeavour.’
The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh (ACCORD) was established in the wake of the collapse of the Rana Plaza textile factory in 2013. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is supporting its goals by providing EUR 7 million to promote investment in safety measures. BMZ has also worked with the International Labour Organization (ILO) to train 300 labour inspectors in order to improve government supervision of textile factories.
(Source: http://www.bmz.de/20191019-1(German only))
German Development Minister Gerd Müller unveils Green Button government-run textile label
Berlin – German Development Minister Dr Gerd Müller today unveiled the Green Button government-run textile label. It is launching with 27 companies, all of whom have satisfied the requirements of the textile label. 26 other companies are currently undergoing the auditing process.
German Development Minister Gerd Müller: ‘Globalisation began in the 19th Century in the textile industry. It’s now time for fair globalisation to emerge in the same sector. We’re setting the bar high with the Green Button and showing that fair supply chains are feasible. As of today, no one can dispute this any longer, as proven by all the companies taking part.’
German Development Minister Gerd Müller: ‘That is what is special about the Green Button. The entire company is audited. Offering individual products for show is not enough. No other scheme conducts such detailed checks.’
The Green Button will initially cover the two key production steps, namely sewing and dyeing, all of the 100 billion garments worldwide go through this stage, which involves 75 million workers. Additionally, it was during this production stage that the Rana Plaza textile factory collapsed.
Over the next few years, the Green Button will be extended to cover other production steps, such as cotton growing. The social and environmental criteria will also be developed on an ongoing basis, for example, to include living wages. This will be supported by an expert advisory council comprising representatives of industry, the science and research community, and civil society.
German Development Minister Gerd Müller: ‘Fair fashion is a mega trend. It’s important to three quarters of consumers, but so far there has been a lack of guidance. This is now changing with the Green Button. With each purchasing decision we make, we can contribute to a fair globalisation process in which people and the environment are not exploited for our benefit as consumers, and help promote humanity and human rights.’
The following companies are signed up:
27 companies have already passed the audit of the Green Button label, including start-ups, SMEs, recognised sustainability pioneers and large corporations: Alma & Lovis, Aldi Nord, Aldi Süd, Brands Fashion, CharLe, Derbe, Dibella, Engel, Feuervogl, Hans Natur, hessnatur, Hopp, Kaufland, Kaya&Kato, Lidl, Manomama, Melawear, Millitomm, Modespitze Plauen, Phyne, Posseimo, Rewe Group, Schweickardt Moden, Tchibo, Trigema, Vaude, 3 Freunde.
26 more companies are currently undergoing the auditing process, including Hugo Boss, the Otto Group and smaller firms such as Socks4Fun.
What people are saying about the Green Button:
Klaus Müller, Executive Director, Federation of German Consumer Organisations (vzbv) ‘The Green Button has the potential to help consumers better navigate the maze of textile labels. Whether or not the label meets the high expectations and resonates with consumers crucially depends on the degree of open communication during its launch.’
Barbara Meier, Textile Ambassador and Germany’s Next Top Model: ‘We should never underestimate the power we have as consumers. At the end of the day, an entire industry gears itself also to meeting our wishes and needs.’
Ralf Scheller, Chief Operating Officer, TÜV Rheinland AG: ‘With the Green Button, the German Government is sending an important signal. It’s a step in the right direction towards sustainability. Other branches of industry can follow suit.’
Ulrich Lilie, President, Diakonie Deutschland: ‘As the Diakonie, we welcome this initiative by BMZ, as we intend to step up our work in the area of sustainable textiles in future. After all, we use a great deal of bed linen, towels and work clothes in our facilities. As such, this is an extremely relevant issue for the Diakonie.’
Thomas Linemayr, CEO, Tchibo: ‘We welcome the Green Button’s goal of making it as easy as possible for consumers to choose more sustainable products and auditing the companies themselves for their overall commitment to sustainability. We’re proud to be there from the beginning.’
Alexander Birken, CEO, Otto Group Holding: ‘I welcome the initiative of Gerd Müller, Federal Development Minister, to offer consumers more guidance when it comes to buying sustainable, fairly manufactured textiles. The Otto Group actively supports this goal and the first companies within the group are already taking up the challenge of certification.’’
Rayk Mende, Managing Director Corporate Responsibility, Aldi Nord: ‘With the Green Button, we are providing our customers with additional guidance when shopping.’
Wolfgang Grupp junior, Trigema: ‘The Green Button is an important label of confidence for us. One that shows us all that Trigema is the brand of responsibility.’
Jürgen Schweikardt, Owner, Schweikardt Moden GmbH: ‘Congratulations – the Green Button is moving in the right direction!’
Antje von Dewitz, Managing Director, Vaude: ‘We’re seeing that a growing number of people want to buy their clothes with a clean conscience. The Green Button offers them clear guidance by providing a government-run label that identifies environmentally-friendly and fairly produced products. We’re delighted to be involved at the start and to have obtained Green Button certification for 98 per cent of VAUDE’s current clothing line.’
Andrea Ebinger, CEO, hessnatur ‘We welcome the fact that BMZ and its dedicated team are now advancing the topic of sustainability in fashion, something that we’ve been practising as a matter of conviction for over 40 years. We see the Green Button as a potential pioneer of standards for environmentally-friendly and socially fair textile production for the whole of Europe, if not beyond.’
Dr Raoul Kirmes, Deutsche Akkreditierungsstelle GmbH (DAkkS - German national accreditation body) (‘Certifier of certifiers’): ‘DAkkS supports the government-run Green Button certification label. It provides consumers with a reliable means of identifying socially-sound and environmentally-friendly sustainable textiles that is monitored by the German government. The introduction of government control over certification bodies of consumer-related labels was long overdue, as consumers can only make sustainable purchasing decisions if they have confidence in the labels and certificates. As a global system, the Green Button meets internationally harmonised ISO standards and, by extension, complies with EU and WTO legislation. In the textile sector especially, where supply chains are fully globalised, this is essential.’
Klaus Müller, Executive Director, Federation of German Consumer Organisations (vzbv) ‘Despite some initial difficulties, the Green Button is moving in the right direction and I believe it should be given a chance to establish itself and develop its work further. Such development is necessary in order to not only scrutinise what goes on in the textile factories and dyeworks, but also require evidence of compliance with environmental, social and human rights standards from actors throughout the supply chain (from the cotton field to the clothes hanger, as Minister Müller often says). The goal of achieving living wages, established in the preamble to the Green Button statute, must be tackled in the near future.
It’s good to see BMZ also advocating for a law on supply chains. The Green Button is not inconsistent with this law, as BMZ has made it clear that the criteria for Green Button certification must always be significantly more stringent than the statutory requirements.
As a government-run meta-label, the Green Button is important, as it will soon leave the German Government, federal states and local authorities without any excuses and ensure that they only purchase textiles (uniforms, lab coats, bed linen, curtains etc.) bearing the Green Button label. It could also help consumers to better navigate the maze of textile labels.’
Pirmin Spiegel, Director General, MISEREOR: ‘We welcome Minister Müller’s actions in using the Green Button textile label to further raise awareness among the German public of the topic of sustainable fashion and thereby highlighting the urgent need for improvement in conditions within the textile industry.’
What people are saying about the Green Button – German Development Minister Dr Gerd Müller
‘The government is responsible for setting the criteria. Independent auditors check for compliance with the required standards. This builds trust.’
‘What is special about the Green Button is that the entire company is audited. Offering individual products for show is not enough. No other scheme conducts such detailed checks.’
‘Over 50 companies are interested in the Green Button. The demand shows that we’re on the right track.’
‘A total of 46 stringent social and environmental criteria must be met, covering a wide spectrum from wastewater to forced labour. They also include a ban on exploitative child labour.’
‘The tragic collapse of the Rana Plaza factory, which claimed the lives of over 1,000 textile workers, must never be allowed to happen again.’
‘I’m delighted to see an increasing number of people enquiring as to whether their clothes have been fairly produced and calling upon companies and politicians to ensure that clothing is sustainably manufactured. 16-hour shifts in stuffy factories, a lack of personal protective clothing, firing of workers if they become pregnant, the use of hazardous chemicals and the payment of breadline wages must all finally become something of the past.’
‘Many companies are already demonstrating that sustainable fashion is possible. This is why I don’t buy the argument that companies have no control over the conditions in factories. Even small start-ups manage to do something about this. After all, we live in the digital age.’
‘Look out for the Green Button if you’re interested in purchasing socially responsible and environmentally friendly fashion in future. With every purchase, we can help consumers to end child labour and protect the environment.’
Authorisation of Green Button Certification Bodies
Since 1 March 2021, certification bodies and their respective auditors require formal authorisation in order to carry out the company audits of the requirements of the government-run certification label Green Button.
The suitability of the certification bodies and their auditors is checked in a two-stage procedure. Auditors receive further training on the topics of due diligence and the Green Button auditing process through an intensive and comprehensive training programme.
The certification label "Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production" (WRAP) is recognised by the Green Button
Companies can now provide proof of compliance with the Green Button product requirements through another credible certification label. The in-depth examination by a team of experts has shown: The WRAP label of the non-profit "Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production" meets the product requirements for social sustainability of the Green Button.
WRAP only fulfils the Green Button product requirements in combination with a simultaneous certification of the end product with a recognised certification label for environmental standards.
Meeting the Green Button requirements for the recognition of certification labels was also the basic requirement for WRAP to be recognised. For this, a label must be judged as credible. This means, for example: the standard-setting process must be public, the (financial) structure must be transparent and a review of the standard must take place regularly and independently.
Green Button at Neonyt on Air
Digital instead of presence - everything is different at Berlin Fashion Week this year.
With our partner Neonyt we have nevertheless prepared some input for you and presented an exciting interview, followed by a Q&A session. Take a look:
The interview with Anosha Wahidi, Head of Division for Sustainable Supply Chains at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and Max Gilgenmann, Content Director Neonyt. The interview is presented by Grüner Knopf and features insights into the current (political) situation regarding the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles (Bündnis für nachhaltige Textilien), government-run certification label Green Button (Grüner Knopf), the German government's rating portal siegelklarheit.de, but above all the Due Diligence Act (Sorgfaltspflichtengesetz), which is currently being discussed in the media but also behind closed doors.
In a following Q&A session, Anosha Wahidi answered questions from the community on current topics concerning the Green Button.
You can find more inspiring talks here: Instagram Neonyt on Air
Green Button 2.0: Expert Advisory Council discusses the draft of the Due Diligence Requirements
In a council meeting on December 10th, 2020, the members of the expert advisory council chaired by Michael Windfuhr (Deputy Director of the German Institute for Human Rights) have already had the chance to discuss the draft version of the Due Diligence Requirements.
The statement of the expert advisory council can be downloaded here.
The expert advisory council’s feedback on the Due Diligence Requirements marks the start of the public consultation. All interested parties are invited to participate in the consultation.
The Global Recycled Standard is recognised by the Green Button
We are pleased that companies can now provide proof of compliance with the Green Button product requirements by means of another credible label. After thorough examination, a team of experts concluded that the Global Recycled Standard (GRS) of the globally active non-profit organisation “Textile Exchange“ fulfils the product requirements of the Green Button with one exception.
GRS fulfils the criteria of environmental sustainability only in combination with a simultaneous certification of the end-product according to Oeko-Tex Standard 100. Furthermore, GRS is recognised as official proof of the Green Button criteria for social sustainability.
The basic prerequisite for the recognition of GRS was also the fulfilment of the Green Button requirements for the recognition of certification labels. In this context, the label must be classified as credible. This means, for example, that the process of standard setting must be public, the (financial) structure must be transparent and a review of the standard must take place regularly and independently.
Fashion Talk: Minister Müller, Fairtrade Ambassador Lea Marlen Woitack and Chiemsee Managing Director Jan Schmidt talk about sustainable fashion
On Thursday, 8 October 2020 at 2.30 pm, Federal Minister Dr Gerd Müller will discuss the possibilities of sustainability in the fashion industry with Fairtrade ambassador and actress Lea Marlen Woitack and Chiemsee Managing Director Jan Schmidt. The Chiemsee brand has been selling textiles certified with the Green Button certification label since June 2020. What are the challenges in the textile supply chain? And what has already been achieved to address these challenges? What can customers look out for when buying textiles? How can certification labels provide orientation? The talk will be shared live through the Freundin Magazin via Facebook.
Development communication: The Green Button at the GLOBAL DAY
How can current communication tools be used for development policy issues? This question will be addressed by various actors at the GLOBAL DAY in Cologne. They will discuss how moving images and social media campaigns offer communication opportunities, for example to report on the 17 goals for sustainable development, and will present best practice cases from Germany and Africa. The Green Button is also represented at the event: The certification label will be presented in more detail at an information stand and the Green Button event team will be wearing Green Button certified masks, T-shirts and hoodies from the brand Chiemsee. The day will end with the presentation of the NRW Media Award for development policy commitment and the screening of I AM GRETA.
Sustainability in business, discount retail and architecture: Minister Müller at the FOCUS Inner Circle Talk
Will we live more consciously in the future? How can we succeed in making tomorrow's world sustainable? And what have we learned from Corona? Federal Development Minister Dr Gerd Müller spoke about these and other questions in an expert talk at the FOCUS Inner Circle on 21 September 2020 in Düsseldorf. In a discussion with Louisa Dellert (author, founder and influencer), Christoph Ingenhoven (architect) and Dr. Julia Adou (Head of Corporate Responsibility ALDI SÜD), exciting insights into the topic of sustainability in business, discount retail and architecture were given. Click here for the video of the expert talk.
Publication of Green Button Standard and Certification Programme
The Green Button has been registered with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) as a European Union certification mark. The product and due diligence requirements of the Green Button were combined into a Standard document for the purposes of the application. This corresponds to standard international practice in accordance with ISO rules. The criteria and indicators of the Green Button 1.0 remain unaffected by this adjustment.
The equally accessible Certification Programme of the Green Button (German only) provides a concise version of the key requirements for auditing the Green Button criteria, including requirements for certification bodies and auditors. The Certification Programme is currently being revised. The adapted Certification Programme is set to be made available in summer 2020.
Fashion Talk: Minister Müller, Textile Ambassador Barbara Meier and entrepreneur Matthias Mey discuss sustainability in the fashion industry
German Development Minister Dr Gerd Müller will join model and textile ambassador Barbara Meier, designer and Bunte NEW FACES winner Julia Leifert, entrepreneur Matthias Mey and others to discuss the topic of sustainability in fashion at the Bunte NEW FACES FASHION TALK on 1 July 2020 at 18:30. How aware are we of sustainable fashion? How is the COVID-19 impacting the industry? What influence do policymakers, the private sector and consumers have? These are the key questions that will be discussed by the panel of experts. The video of the talk will be available on IGTV and on the BUNTE TV Youtube channel.
Launch of the new Green Button issuing body
Public-benefit firm RAL gGmbH is assuming with immediate effect the role of official issuing and monitoring body for the Green Button on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). RAL will support all certified and interested companies through the entire process in future, from application to the awarding of licences. Through market monitoring, the issuing body also checks for proper application of the label in retail and advertising.
More information can be found here.
Future of Fashion: German Development Minister Gerd Müller with Wolfgang Joop, livestream
German Development Minister Dr Gerd Müller will join Wolfgang Joop on Thursday 30 April 2020 at 19:00 to discuss the future of fashion and the impact of COVID-19 on the textile industry. The Inner Circle, the talk series of FOCUS magazine, will be held as a livestream. Other guests include Anita Tillmann, Managing Partner of PREMIUM Exhibitions, and FOCUS magazine’s Sara Sievert, who will chair the discussion. You are welcome to take part. The livestream link will be posted on www.facebook.com/focusmagazin and on FOCUS magazine’s YouTube channel shortly before the event begins.
Video: The cost of cheap clothing
Our clothing is only so cheap because it is produced cheaply in other countries, like here in Ethiopia. A new law could now require manufacturers to comply with minimum social standards. German Development Minister Gerd Müller has visited Ethiopia to see the situation for himself. With the Green Button, the German government-run textile label, he is showing that sustainable working conditions can be achieved.
Video: Tackling fast fashion
Never before have we owned so many clothes. Our clothing consumption has doubled from 50 billion new garments in 2000 to around 100 billion at present. At the same time, we are spending less on what we wear. This is explained by the phenomenon of fast fashion – clothes so cheap that they end up in the used-clothes container after being worn just two or three times. Esther Schweins is declaring war on fast fashion. In her work, she also calls for action from those with political responsibility. German Development Minister Gerd Müller intends to use the Green Button to certify socially and environmentally manufactured clothing.
Speech by German Development Minister Dr Gerd Müller on the occasion of the unveiling of the government-run textile label, the Green Button, at the Federal Press Conference
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Ladies and Gentlemen,
Ms von Dewitz,
75 million people work in the textile industry worldwide. Most of them are women in developing countries. Many of them also work to produce the clothes we wear, often under appalling conditions. This was vividly illustrated by the terrible disaster at the Rana Plaza factory, which also made a major impression on me. The worst disaster in the history of the textile industry left 1,136 people dead and 2,500 with extremely serious injuries. It is therefore a great honour that one of the survivors of Rana Plaza will be joining us at our launch event here at the German Development Ministry this afternoon.
We could continue to look the other way and allow people to slave away for us, but that won’t work. That’s why I sat here at a Federal Press Conference for the launch of the Textile Partnership almost five years ago to the day. I said at the time that we couldn’t allow the ‘cheap at any cost’ mentality to be our motivation and this remains true today. Manufacturing operations continue to be relocated to developing countries, where standards are violated that are applicable for good reason in Europe.
- In Ethiopia, for instance, seamstresses earn less than 20 euro cents an hour. This is not enough to cover rent, food, school fees or medical treatment.
- Seamstresses are paid 0.6% of the money made from a brand-name T-shirt.
- 20% of industrial water pollution is attributable to textile dyeing.
You can read all of this in a new study by the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE).
The Textile Partnership remains relevant and underpins all that we do. We set up the Textile Partnership in 2014 to bring about fundamental change. And we’ve succeeded. Our 120 members, including companies, business associations, trade unions and non-governmental organisations, are moving in the right direction together. 160 toxic chemicals are being banned from the manufacturing process and the proportion of sustainable cotton is set to be increased to 70 per cent by 2025. Member companies now account for 50 per cent of German retail. The Textile Partnership is a success and will remain relevant.
The Green Button is the next step. We are now taking the next step with the Green Button, certifying companies that already meet especially stringent requirements. There is currently no other label like the Green Button. It is the German government’s textile label, registered with the German Patent and Trade Mark Office, and provides ambitiously high social and environmental standards. These standards require reductions in toxic waste water and hazardous chemicals, a ban on child labour in supplier factories, payment of minimum wages and more occupational health and safety measures.
Consumers can be confident that Green Button textiles have been manufactured to the highest standards. What is special about the Green Button is that the entire company is audited. Offering individual products for show is not enough. For a T-shirt to carry the Green Button label, it must meet 46 demanding social and environmental criteria.
- 26 of these criteria apply to products, such as T-shirts, bed linen and backpacks,
- and the other 20 pertain to the company as a whole. Does it disclose suppliers? Do seamstresses have recourse to grievance mechanisms locally?
No other scheme conducts such detailed checks.
In this way, the Green Button gives consumers confidence. The government lays down the criteria for the Green Button and independent certification bodies review compliance with the criteria set, in Bangladesh and Romania as well if necessary. The auditing process is also monitored by the Deutsche Akkreditierungsstelle GmbH (DAkkS - German national accreditation body) As a ‘certifier of certifiers’, it ensures that the certification bodies have the necessary expertise and know what is important.
Who is involved? 27 companies, including small three-person enterprises, SMEs, recognised sustainability pioneers and large companies with several thousand employees, have already completed the full auditing process: Alma & Lovis, Aldi Nord, Aldi Süd, Brands Fashion, CharLe, Derbe, Dibella, Engel, Feuervogl, Hans Natur, hessnatur, Hopp, Kaufland, Kaya&Kato, Lidl, Manomama, Melawear, Millitomm, Modespitze Plauen, Phyne, Posseimo, Rewe Group, Schweickardt Moden, Tchibo, Trigema, Vaude, 3 Freunde.
26 more companies are currently undergoing the auditing process, including Hugo Boss, the Otto Group and smaller firms such as Socks4Fun. Three other companies are interested, including from overseas. The Green Button is a global certification label. The Green Button can also be used by German companies abroad, and companies from other countries can apply for Green Button certification. The demand shows that we’re on the right track. The Green Button is ambitious and unbureaucratic.
Products carrying the Green Button label are now available on the market. They include clothing, bags and tents, as well as bed linen, which is relevant for public procurement. We invite you to come and visit BMZ at 14:00 and take a look at the wide range of products yourself.
What is next? The social and environmental criteria will be developed on an ongoing basis in the coming years, for example, to include living wages. This will be supported by an expert advisory council comprising representatives of industry, the science and research community, and civil society. We will also extend the Green Button to cover other production steps, such as cotton growing. We are initially tackling the two key production steps, namely sewing and dyeing.
- All of the 100 billion garments produced worldwide each year undergo these processes,
- which involve 75 million workers.
- You can usually identify which colour will be in vogue next season by looking at the rivers, as each dyeworks releases 2.5 tonnes of chemicals, often untreated, into the sewage system each day.
- Additionally, it was during this production stage that the Rana Plaza textile factory collapsed.
We’re setting the bar high with the Green Button and showing that fair supply chains are feasible. This is also proven by the many small enterprises involved in the Green Button process. As of today, no one can dispute this any longer.
The Green Button – our label of responsibility
German Development Minister Dr Gerd Müller would like to warmly invite you to attend the launch of the Green Button label.
Official launch on Monday, 9 September 2019,
14:00 – 16:00 (followed by a reception)
German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ),
Stresemannstraße 94, 10963 Berlin, Germany
Three quarters of all consumers state that they believe sustainable fashion is important. Quite rightly, they don’t want to wear a T-shirt that has been produced by people working 16-hour shifts and earning a pittance. Nor do they want a product that has been dyed with toxic chemicals.
That is why many companies are now demonstrating that sustainable fashion is possible! The Green Button is our label of responsibility. It offers guidance on buying sustainably manufactured textiles.
Join us as we certify products manufactured by companies that already produce environmentally and socially sustainable textiles and present the new Green Button textile label to the public.
Please obtain your credentials by sending an email with your name, contact details and medium to: email@example.com