Der Grüne Knopf (The Green Button) is the first German state seal for sustainable textiles. Anyone who wants to buy ecologically and socially justly produced textiles, such as clothing or textile shoes, can use the Green Button as a guide. The seal sets binding requirements to protect people and the environment: 46 demanding social and environmental criteria must be met - from A for waste water limits to Z for a ban on forced labour.
Orientation when buying
Three quarters of consumers find sustainable fashion important. They don't want to wear a T-shirt that was sewn in 16-hour shifts for a starvation wage or dyed with toxic chemicals. The Green Button seal shows: Sustainable fashion is possible.
As the first state label, the Green Button combines demanding requirements for individual textiles to be labelled with requirements for the entire company, which must prove its due diligence obligations in the supply chains as a whole. In the introductory phase, the Green Button covers the production stages of making-up (cutting and sewing) and wet processes (bleaching and dyeing). In the next few years, the Green Button is to be extended to cover the production steps "weaving and spinning" and the production step "material and fibre use".
The Green Button is registered at the German Patent and Trademark Office as a so-called guarantee mark.
The requirements of the Green Button can only be audited by independent certification bodies such as the PFI.
The scope of the Green Button covers all textiles, especially clothing, textile footwear, textile fashion accessories, textile toys, backpacks, home textiles and bedding. The Green Button can also be awarded for textiles made of polyester or other man-made fibres.
Who is behind the Green Button?
The seal holder of the Green Button is the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. The seal holder sets the criteria and requirements for the Green Button. An office has been set up at the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. The awarding office, which is represented by RAL gGmbH, supports companies interested in being licensed with the Green Button and carries out the examination of eligibility to apply.
A total of 46 demanding social and environmental criteria must be met. A product must comply with 26 social and environmental criteria - from A for waste water limits to Z for a ban on forced labour. Furthermore, the company as a whole must prove its due diligence obligations on the basis of 20 criteria. Independent auditors such as the PFI monitor compliance with these criteria.
The corporate criteria are based on the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights as well as sector-specific recommendations of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
The certification programme has been adapted to the specifics of the textile industry. Double certification is avoided for manufacturers thanks to the recognition of credible labels that meet the Green Button criteria. Likewise, within the certification period, there is the possibility to extend the Green Button to new collections and products within the verified supply chain.
During the introductory phase, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) covers the costs of advisory services by the office, initial certification and licensing costs. The costs that are not covered by the BMZ include the product re-registrations (costs incurred by supplementing the certificate and, if applicable, auditing new suppliers) and, from 30 June 2021, the surveillance audits, which take place after 12 months, and re-certifications, which take place after three years.
Your Way to Grüner Knopf Certificate