The world of "sustainability" can be confusing as there are hundred of claims used to define what is or not sustainable. And what makes it even more difficult is that everyone is not using the same words the same way. With this glossary, we want to gather some terms we commonly use and define what we mean by them. We hope you can use this page as a reference when you are lost and need an extra reference or just learn more sustainability in the fashion & beauty industry!
Natural cosmetics means that ingredients are derived from nature and not made in a laboratory. This does not mean that the product is non-toxic. There are plenty of toxins available in nature.
reef safe sunscreen +
No oxybenzone and octinoxate. Must be non-nano zinc oxide or titanium dioxide
clean beauty +
Formulated leaving out certain ingredients and practices. Varies from brand to brand. Always check out the ingredient list and look for independent certification that backs this claim.
For beauty; also known as synthetic. Any cosmetic product, complying with general legislation only.
For fabrics; made using historical non-sustainability focused practices and processes.
Made without animal-derived ingredients. Applies to beauty and fashion products.
Manufactured or developed by methods which do not involve cruelty to animals. Both the ingredients and final formulations haven’t been tested on animals across the whole supply chain.
Capable of being decomposed by bacteria or other living organisms and thereby avoiding environmental pollution and long-term negative effects.
green chemistry +
Doing things the natural, eco-conscious way, to minimise and avoid any negative impact on the environment and minimise the use of potentially hazardous substances.
Deceptive use of green values for marketing purposes, which actually don’t resemble the actual sustainability policies of a company or a brand.
angel dusting +
A misleading marketing practice of adding an active ingredient to a formulation in an insufficient amount to give any benefit at all.
Tiny toxic plastic particles (<5mm) that continuously break into smaller pieces and pass cell membranes and the blood brain barrier.
recyclable packaging +
Often, plastic is not recyclable, even if you correctly dispose of it. Make sure you buy recyclable packaging such as many kinds of paper, glass, cardboard, metal, plastic. The use of biodegradable materials is also a form of recycling! Mádara, for instance, is experimenting with plant-based plastic tubes that are fully biodegradable.
Most often when people talk about sustainability they mean some kind of environmental sustainability. But the origin of the term means that something is able to continue forever within the boundaries of the planet and its resources. For us sustainability is in reference to the 3 "p's": Planet / Profit / People. An activity or company should evaluate their performance and success not only in matter of financial gain but also in terms of respect to the environment and its resources and the people that inhabits it. Have a look at our sustainability principles.
sustainable development +
Sustainable development has been defined as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
responsible fashion +
When we use the term responsible fashion, we mean that we/our labels partner take responsibility for the impact their products have on people & planet.
Aware of something. This is generally used to describe being aware of environmental and social issues. By definition it does not include taking action.
Made from recycled materials. This is trustworthy when certified with GRS or RCS certifications for example.
To be able to recycle ~ in common and widely available ways in multitude of countries.
a circular economy +
A circular economy is an alternative to a traditional linear economy (make, use, dispose) in which we keep resources in use for as long as possible, extract the maximum value from them whilst in use, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of each service life.
supply chain +
The chain of activities that cover every step in the production of clothing from growing or extracting raw materials to use of the final consumer to the discarding or recycling of said clothing.
Disclosing and make understandable information to public. We generally refer to the idea for a business or an entity to disclose the supply chain and business practices to the general public in free and comprehensible ways.
collective bargaining +
All negotiations between employer and employees generally about wage, working conditions and terms of employment.
living wage +
A living wage, means that the wage a worker earns in a standard working week (never exceeding 48 hours) is enough to provide for them and their family's basic needs - including housing, education and healthcare as well as some discretionary income for when the unexpected happens.
Natural Certified +
No less than 95% of all ingredients are natural, leaving out certain ingredients, prohibited by the independent certification body.
Organic Certified +
No less than 95% of all ingredients are natural, no less than 10% (in rinse-off formulas) and 20% (in leave-on formulas) are organic, and no less than 95% of plant-based ingredients are organic, too – leaving out certain ingredients, prohibited by the independent certification body.
Europe certified with Soil Association COSMOS +
Guarantees no animal testing, no GM ingredients, no controversial chemicals, no Parabens and Phthalates, no synthetic colours, dyes or fragrances.
Cosmos Organic +
95% of all ingredients must be organic, namely ingredients coming from plants or other natural products, such as minerals.
Cosmos Natural +
Suitable for products usually containing a lot of water, salt or clay such as toners, bath salts, face masks.
Ecocert Bio +
A historical player in the world of organic farming certification.
Cruelty-Free Certified +
“A bunny logo”. Product or ingredients were not tested on animals. There are three different certificates for cruelty free, PETA, leaping bunny and Choose Cruelty Free. The one from PETA checks product ingredients only. Leaping bunny and Choose Cruelty Free check suppliers and either audit or periodically check that the suppliers still fit the certification requirements.
Global Organic Textile Standard. This is a certification for organic fabrics.
Certified no harmful substances (bad chemicals)
If a textile article carries the STANDARD 100 label, you can be certain that every component of this article, i.e. every thread, button and other accessories, has been tested for harmful substances and that the article therefore is harmless for human health.
OCS 100 +
The Organic Content Standard. Applies to any non-food product containing 95-100 percent organic material. It verifies the presence and amount of organic material in a final product and tracks the flow of the raw material from its source to the final product.
REACH is a regulation of the European Union, adopted to improve the protection of human health and the environment from the risks that can be posed by chemicals
A bluesign® product is only offered by brands that have committed to the bluesign® system. A sustainable product of this type consists of at least 90 % bluesign® APPROVED textiles and 30 % bluesign® approved accessories. The goal is to reach 100% bluesign confirmed components. The entire product guarantees the highest degree of assurance to the consumer. They have used the best technologies available, used resources responsibly and taken care to minimize the impacts on people and the environment.
Global Recycled Standard. A third-party certification of recycled content, chain of custody, social and environmental practices and chemical restrictions.
RCS 100 +
Recycled Claim Standard. It 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. Material Collection and Material Concentration sites are subject to self-declaration, document collection, and on-site visits. The RCS does not address social or environmental aspects of processing and manufacturing, quality, or legal compliance.
The Better Cotton Initiative. It is a global not-for-profit organization and the largest cotton sustainability program in the world. BCI exists to make global cotton production better for the people who produce it, better for the environment it grows in, and better for the sector’s future.
SA8000 is a social accountability standard and certificate developed by Social Accountability International (SAI). They created this certification to help and protect workers worldwide by providing a standardized guideline to protect the integrity of workers’ conditions and wages. SA8000 overlaps with Fair Trade certification, but while Fair Trade is predominantly used for farming, SA8000 is a certification used in factory conditions.
Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world.
The WFTO Fair Trade Standard specifies criteria for assessing if an enterprise truly implements the 10 Principles of Fair Trade. Demonstrating compliance earns Fair Trade Enterprises the designation "Guaranteed Fair Trade". This Standard is the heart of the WFTO Guarantee System, focusing on the management and operation of Fair Trade Enterprises.
The only certification that measures a company's entire social and environmental performance.
The brand name of certain lyocell and modal. TENCEL™ Lyocell and Modal fibers help to maintain the environmental balance by being integrated into nature´s cycle. The fibers originate from the renewable raw material wood, created by photosynthesis. The certified biobased fibers are manufactured using an environmentally responsible production process. The fibers are certified as compostable and biodegradable, and thus can fully revert back to nature.
Brand name of viscose with a certain supply chain. Ecovero has up to 50% lower emissions & water impact than generic viscose, sustainable wood and pulp sourcing/procurement, supply chain transparency and it is certified eco-responsible. Ecovero is manufactured only from certified and controlled wood sources and produced with significantly lower fossil energy use and water than generic viscose.
ECONYL® regenerated nylon is a product that can help you close the loop. Made from waste, it's infinitely recyclable and can unleash infinite possibilities for makers, creators and consumers.
Q-NOVA® is an environmentally-sustainable nylon 6.6 fibre obtained from regenerated raw materials and which meets given traceability requirements.