Sustainable certifications to look for when shopping

Sustainable certifications to look for when shopping

Posted by Andrew McCaig on

  
   
The world of online & IRL shopping has become an ethical minefield, whether
it’s the material being used, the labour that produces the product, the carbon
footprint, or the corporation itself. So it’s no wonder we feel overwhelmed and
helpless in our search for sustainable products! 
   
But we shouldn’t be deprived of the joys of retail therapy; instead, we’ve gathered
the top certifications to look out for when perusing brands. These include some
of the certifications we have within our product range, as well as
others that give you peace of mind. Organic, ethical, fair trade - you name it,
we’ve uncovered it. Never fear the shops again with this handy low tox guide
in your pocket.
 
   

Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS)

GOLS is a globally recognised standard for products made from organically
grown, natural rubber latex. This pure form of latex doesn’t come with harmful
fillers and there’s no pesticides in sight. On top of that, GOLS certified latex is
guaranteed to be made with at least 95% natural materials.
   
Certified Organic latex is what we use in our latex mattresses & pillows, and is
derived from the sap of organically grown rubber trees. In addition to keeping you
safe from toxins in fertilisers or pesticides, the organic farming associated with
the GOLS standard helps support the environment and the health of the workers.
   
Another big benefit of Certified Organic latex is the low level of volatile organic
compounds (VOCs) present. VOCs are carbon-based chemicals used during
production that easily evaporate at room temperature. These are present in a huge
range of products and the VOCs emitted via off-gassing is what can be attributed
to the smell of fresh paint, a new car or new furniture. High levels of VOCs
can contribute to headaches, itchy eyes and allergy-like symptoms, nausea, and
respiratory issues, with some products off-gassing long after a production.
    
With mattresses in particular being a long-term investment, this certification
ensures the only side effect of your organic mattress is a good night’s sleep.
   
       
    

Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)

The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) has a strict set of criteria
that manufacturers must adhere to, making it a safe ‘seal of approval’ for
customers. There are two GOTS label-grades: the ‘Certified Organic’ label,
which requires a minimum of 95% organic fibres, and the 'made with organic
materials' label, which demands no less than 70% organic fibres.
   
Under the GOTS certification, organic fibres are naturally grown without any
synthetic pesticides, herbicides or GMOs (Genetic Modified Organisms).
By sticking to the criteria laid out by GOTS, brands not only give you reassurance
when shopping for organic clothing, organic pillows, or organic bedding - they
also help sustain the health of our environment, soil, and people creating your
products.
    
By comparison, synthetic mattress materials like memory foam and polyfoam tend
to get hot very quickly, are often manufactured with toxic chemicals, and undergo
harsh chemical treatments. When companies like ours carry products with the
GOTS tick of approval, it signifies that every material, ecological, and social factor
has been assessed and protected, making your purchase feel even better.
     
     
    

STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX®

STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX is one of the world's best-known labels for textiles
that have been tested for harmful substances. If a textile product carries the
STANDARD 100 label, you can be sure that every component - that means every
thread, button and accessory - has been tested for toxins in order to be deemed
safe for human health. 
    
In the test, independent examiners consider numerous substances that could
pose a risk to your health, not to mention the fact they update their criteria at least
once a year to incorporate all new regulatory and scientific requirements.
By opting for brands that carry the STANDARD 100 seal, you’ll shop easy,
knowing whatever you buy has been thoroughly checked out before making
its way to your home.
      
   
 
      

Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC)

PEFC is a body that endorses sustainable forest management, and it’s one
our Tasmanian oak suppliers carry for our natural bed frames and furnishings.
Research shows deforestation is the world’s second largest source of greenhouse
gas emissions. And while there’s more than fifty certification programs worldwide,
the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification is one of our
favourites. 
   
There a number of standards that certified businesses need to comply with,
and are vital for the sustainable management of a forest. These standards cover
everything from forest owner practices to economic, social, environmental and
cultural criteria that support the management of forests for products and services.
As part of becoming (and staying) certified, there’s also a process for tracking
certified materials from the sustainably managed forest to the final product.
   
At TNBC, for example, the Tasmanian Oak wood we use in our natural wooden
bed frames & furniture is 100% PEFC, with logs harvested from an area of
regrowth forest that has been sustainably managed by a family owned &
operated sawmill company for many years. This in itself represents an important
part of the local economy, employing many local people in all aspects of the
forestry, production, sales and distribution process. 
   
       
    

Australian Certified Organic Standard (ACOS)

The Australian Certified Organic Standard (ACOS) sets out several key criteria that
brands must meet in order to be labelled as organic. Products - such as a certified
organic mattress - must be sourced from clearly defined and certified partners,
with no toxic chemicals used in any of the processes. In the areas where natural,
organic materials are sourced, everything from the maintenance of natural habitats
to the management of nearby livestock must meet a strict code to ensure
certification. Now that’s thorough!
   
On a global scale, the ACO standard mirrors the standards of the National Organic
Program, run by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). Kicking off in 2002,
this program regulates any organic production, processing and marketing in the
US, and is a veritable standard used by any brands sourcing material from
America, which as you can imagine is a lot.
    
Under this certification, organic food and natural materials are grown and
processed according to federal guidelines that insist on several sustainable
factors, from soil quality and animal practices, to pest and weed control, and
the use of additives.
 
Not only that, but produce can only be called organic if it’s certified to have grown
on soil that had no banned substances applied for three years prior to
harvest - think chemicals like synthetic fertiliser and pesticides.
       
      
    

A reassuring shop

We’ve come a long way in making our retail purchases more sustainable. But of
course, we still have a way to go - and as individuals, voting with our wallets is
one of the biggest statements we can make. So look for the brands making the
effort, getting certified, and producing items that look after your health, their
worker’s health, and the health of our planet. 
   
To shop TNBC certified products, click here
   
    

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