Sustainability: Textiles, Apparel, Footwear & Accessories

Sustainability Products Collage

Ensuring sustainability throughout the product life cycle.

“Sustainability” is more than just a word. A “green” claim is not enough for consumers who are shopping with values in mind. Brands that have adopted and can actively demonstrate a sustainable production cycle for their apparel, footwear, bags and accessories have a clear advantage over their competitors.

How can you meet consumer expectations for sustainable products?

SGS can help.

From fiber fragmentation evaluation to circular fashion and upcycling verification, from preferred materials selection to carbon footprint management, SGS’s inspection, verification, testing and certification solutions can support you in your journey to sustainability.

Our holistic and practical solutions allow you to minimize environmental effects while meeting customers’ ever-changing expectations for sustainable products. Our virtual support services will help you adapt to an increasingly digitalized supply chain. The end result – a product that consumers trust and a brand they can rely on for future purchases.

With sincerity and integrity at the heart of our services, SGS crafts innovative solutions to meet the unique needs of each of our clients. Through our global network of sustainability experts and state-of-the-art testing facilities, we will help you to lower risks, improve efficiency and ensure compliance with regulations. Discover how you can enable a more profitable business, happier customers and a healthier planet.

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Scientist Testing Chemical in Test Tube

Chemical Residue Testing

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Cotton Made Sweater

Non-GMO Verification for Organic Cotton

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Leather Products

Vegan Products Verification

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Woman Carrying Pile of Clothes

Upcycling Verification

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Microfiber Testing Collage

Microfiber Testing

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Chemical Residue Testing for Organic Cotton Textiles

As sustainable textile products have become more popular with consumers, different market standards have been developed for monitoring the organic status of textiles, from raw materials to finished products. However, there is still a possibility of trace chemical residues due to contamination or by-products.

SGS provides laboratory testing for the presence of chemical residues in finished projects. If a chemical substance above the acceptable limit is detected, an “organic” claim cannot be made.

What we test for:

  • Alkylphenol and alkylphenol ethoxylates
  • Adsorbable halogenated hydrocarbons (AOX) and related substances
  • Azo dyes
  • Chlorinated benzenes and toluenes
  • Chlorinated paraffins
  • Chlorophenols
  • Cyclic siloxanes
  • Disperse dyes
  • Extractable heavy metals
  • Formaldehyde
  • Glyoxal
  • Organotin compounds
  • Per- and polyfluorinated compounds
  • Pesticides
  • pH value
  • Phthalates
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
  • Total heavy metals
  • and more

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Verification of non-GMO Cotton for the Textile Industry

Global standards ban the intentional use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in cotton, and production processing.

SGS offers DNA screening for GMOs in cotton and textiles based on International Workshop Agreement (IWA) 32, which standardizes GMO screening procedures. We are a contributor to the development of the test method.

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Vegan Product Verification for Textiles, Bags and Footwear

Veganism is a growing trend in many societies. Apparel, textiles, bags, accessories and footwear that claim to be vegan should not contain any animal derived components, and no animal derived components should be used in their production.

SGS’s vegan product verification services offer several screening tests and a certification of compliance with a product approval mark.

SGS Vegan Screening (SGS VPS-100-2020)

  • Innovative screening program for animal derived material using:
    • Microscopic examination
    • Fourier Transform Infrared (FT-IR) Spectrometry
    • Liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (LC-MS)
  • Confirmation of high-risk ingredients with further analytical techniques

SGS Product Approval Mark

  • Laboratory screening for animal derived material
  • Testing for mandatory regulation compliance
  • Restricted substances testing
  • Document review and on-site assessment for verification of manufacturer’s vegan production declaration
  • SGS Independently Checked Mark granted for products which comply with the requirements

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SGS Upcycling Verification Program

Upcycling is a way to reduce the environmental impact of textile and footwear products. Unlike recycling, which can lead to lower quality materials and products, upcycling uses collected or reclaimed waste to make new products with a higher value than the original.

Our Upcycling Verification Program is helping to meet consumer demands for circular fashion and transparency. It provides independent third-party verification of upcycled material and evaluation of the upcycled content in final products. This program enables you to:

  • Support your upcycling claims in the market
  • Demonstrate traceability and transparency in your supply chain
  • Use your resources more efficiently
  • Respond to industry sustainability initiatives

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Fiber Fragmentation – Microfiber Testing

Fiber fragmentation contributes to microfiber pollution and is a growing concern for the textile industry. Many studies have shown that the proliferation of microfibers in oceans, rivers and lakes is related to fibers released from garment products.

SGS has been conducting research on fiber fragmentation and performing microfiber release testing since 2016. We developed full scale microfiber testing for garments in 2017, and we are now approved to conduct small scale microfiber testing in accordance with The Microfiber Consortium (TMC) test method. Our new testing service focuses on the fiber releasing performance of fabric materials, which helps to increases the understanding of how fabric structures and different treatment processes affect microfiber release. The use of accelerated test methods also provides faster access to data, allowing the industry to continuously work on developing textiles with improved fiber fragmentation.

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