Sustainability labels for garments

A guide for importers from Asia

In the world of garmemts imports, sustainability labels have become not just a trend, but a necessity. These quality marks, such as BCI, OCS and GOTS, play a crucial role in ensuring environmentally responsible and ethical production practices. It is important for importers to understand what these quality marks mean and how to implement them in their import process.

What are sustainability labels?

Sustainability labels are certifications that indicate that a product meets certain ecological and social standards. In the garments industry, some of the most well-known quality marks are:

  • Better Cotton Initiative (BCI): Focuses on improving global cotton production for farmers, the environment in which it grows, and the future of the industry.
  • Organic Content Standard (OCS): Certified products with organic ingredients and tracks the presence of organic materials in a product from the source to the finished product.
  • Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS): A leading global standard for organic textile processing, including ecological and social criteria.

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Implementation of sustainability quality marks

As an importer, implementing these quality marks is a multi-step process:

  1. Research and selection: Start by researching the different quality marks and determine which ones best suit your company and product line.
  2. Supplier assessment: Choose suppliers who are already certified or willing to comply with the certification processes.
  3. Compliance and certification: Work with your suppliers to ensure they meet the standards of the chosen quality mark. This may include helping them navigate the certification process.
  4. Audit and verification: Regular audits are essential to ensure production continues to meet required standards.
  5. Marketing and communication: Use the quality marks in your marketing strategy to demonstrate that your products are sustainable and ethical.

Challenges and considerations

Implementing sustainability labels comes with challenges, including the cost of certification and maintaining consistency across the supply chain. In addition, it is essential to always be alert to greenwashing - the false promotion of products as 'green' or sustainable.


Sustainability labels in the textile industry are more than just a label; they represent a commitment to environmental responsibility and social justice. For importers, implementing these quality marks is an opportunity to distinguish themselves in the market and contribute to a more sustainable world.

 Are you an importer looking for support in implementing sustainability labels for garments?

Westwood Sourcing is happy to help you with expertise and guidance in this process. Contact us for a sustainable and responsible future in importing from Asia. 

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