Der Grüne Knopf ("the green button")

Announcement and invitation to participate in the launch of the Grüner Knopf certification mark

The introductory phase of the Grüner Knopf certification mark begins in mid-2019. From now on, interested companies are invited to apply to the Grüner Knopf office for a conformity assessment. Companies actively participating as early movers during the introductory phase will, under certain conditions, have the assessment fees waived.

What is the Grüner Knopf certification mark?
The Grüner Knopf certification mark is a global certification mark under state supervision. It identifies socially and environmentally manufactured textiles placed on the market by companies that operate responsibly.

Which companies can apply for the Grüner Knopf certification mark?
The Grüner Knopf certification mark scheme is open to all companies producing and/or selling textiles. This includes manufacturing companies and trade companies that sell third-party
products under their own brand name. The scheme is not open to companies that merely act as agents for third-party products without being responsible for the products. The Annex includes a detailed overview of the classes of goods included in the scheme.

Who is behind the Grüner Knopf certification mark?
The Germany Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is the certification mark owner. It stipulates the criteria and conditions for the Grüner Knopf certification mark. A Grüner Knopf certification mark office has been set up at the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. Independent assessors will assess compliance with the criteria for the scheme. Germany’s national accreditation body DakkS will ensure reliable assessment. Successful applicants will be awarded the Grüner Knopf certification mark on behalf of BMZ.

What role does the Grüner Knopf certification mark scheme play in public procurement?
Grüner Knopf certification mark certification follows international, harmonised ISO standards. This makes the Grüner Knopf certification mark scheme suitable for sustainable public procurement
within the European Union (EU).

What does the Grüner Knopf certification mark require of companies and their products?
The Grüner Knopf scheme is the first state-supervised certification mark that sets requirements for both products (e.g. fashion and household textiles) and companies. All products must comply with 26 social and environmental requirements. Compliance with product criteria is assessed using recognised and reliable existing certification marks. Companies are also required to demonstrate their due diligence in human rights and environmental issues as measured by 20 criteria. These company criteria are based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and sector-specific recommendations from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). During the introductory phase, the certification process will be carried out by selected conformity assessment bodies that are accredited in other areas in close consultation with, and under the supervision of, DAkkS.

Which parts of the supply chain does the Grüner Knopf certification mark scheme cover?
During the introductory phase, the Grüner Knopf scheme will apply to two manufacturing stages, ‘cut-make-trim’ (production) and ‘bleaching and dyeing’ (wet processes). Over the coming years, an independent steering committee will help the scheme to develop and extend its applicability to additional manufacturing stages. One of the criteria it seeks to apply is payment of a living wage.

What specific conditions will be in force during the introductory phase?
Why is the Grüner Knopf scheme being launched with an introductory phase?

The introductory phase will run from July 2019 to the end of June 2021. This introductory phase will focus particularly on formulating a conformity assessment programme in consultation with the DAkkS and the accreditation process for the conformity assessment bodies. Lessons learned during the introductory phase will be used to share experiences with all those involved and to validate and further optimise the process for acquiring the Grüner Knopf certification mark. The certification mark owner, the Grüner Knopf office and conformity assessment bodies rely on feedback from the participating companies. For this purpose, companies participating in the introductory phase will be required to support these bodies in the evaluation of processes. To increase transparency, conformity assessment reports will be made publicly
available in an appropriate form. Companies will not be reimbursed for the time and administrative expense involved in participating in the introductory phase.

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