The Role of Certification in Sustainable Sourcing

What is the role of certification in sustainable sourcing and why they are so important for new and established businesses? Here’s everything you need to know.
April 17, 2023
5 minutes

What is the role of certifications in sustainable sourcing and why are they so important for new and established businesses? Here’s everything you need to know.


With roughly 72% of shoppers stating transparency to be important or extremely important, and that they’d be happy to pay more for a product that was completely transparent in all aspects, it’s no wonder why more and more companies strive to prove themselves, their values and social/environmental commitments through various sustainable sourcing certifications. Sustainable sourcing promotes environmental practices, safe working conditions, and the protection of workers' rights.


It also helps to promote the economic and social well-being of local communities by supporting sustainable livelihoods and preserving cultural heritage. Customers and potential investors alike want to see businesses actively trying to protect the environment by promoting responsible land use, reducing waste and pollution, and conserving natural resources such as water and soil.

But sustainability pledges are hardly ever enough. The collective demand for transparency is now more prominent than ever and thanks to the array of Sustainable Sourcing certifications, customers can have a pretty good idea of what companies are worthy of their support.


Here are some of the most trusted certifications eco-conscious companies might want to invest in and their individual role.

Sustainable Certifications Every Company Should Consider



Fairtrade certification is awarded to producers and suppliers of textiles, precious metals, and an array of goods such as coffee, tea, cocoa, and other products who follow specific standards aimed at ensuring social, economic, and environmental sustainability. This includes fair wages for workers, safe working conditions, and sustainable farming practices.


By obtaining this certification, producers, and suppliers can access international markets and receive a fair price for their products. Consumers can feel confident that they are supporting sustainable and ethical practices when purchasing Fairtrade-certified products.


Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)

Similarly, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification is awarded to companies that meet strict environmental and social standards in forest management. Businesses that hold this sustainability certification have been proven to help protect biodiversity, maintain the rights of indigenous people and workers, and ensure responsible logging practices. FSC-certified products, such as wood and paper, are preferred by eco-conscious consumers who want to support sustainable forestry practices.


B-certified corporation

B Corps are businesses that are committed to using their profits and operations to make a positive impact on society and the environment. The evaluation process is quite demanding and complex which is why there are currently 6000 Certified Corporations in more than 80 countries and over 150 industries.


To become BCorp certified, a company must undergo a rigorous assessment process that evaluates its impact on employees, customers, the community, and the environment. The assessment covers a wide range of criteria, including governance, employee practices, environmental impact, and social responsibility. The assessment is designed to provide a comprehensive evaluation of a company's impact, and companies must score a minimum of 80 out of 200 points to be eligible for certification.


Rainforest Alliance Certification

The Rainforest Alliance Certification is a sustainable sourcing certification program that promotes sustainable farming practices and environmental conservation. The program works with farmers, foresters, and other land-use businesses to improve their livelihoods while protecting the natural resources they depend on.


To obtain Rainforest Alliance Certification, farmers and land-use businesses must meet rigorous standards that cover a wide range of environmental, social, and economic factors. These standards include protecting biodiversity, conserving natural resources such as water and soil, and promoting the rights and well-being of workers and local communities. Certified businesses are also required to implement measures that reduce their environmental impact and promote sustainable production practices.


The certification is backed by a third-party audit process to ensure compliance with the standards, and certified businesses must undergo regular audits to maintain it.

Overall, the Rainforest Alliance Certification is an important tool for promoting sustainable agriculture and responsible land-use practices and helps to protect the world's rainforests and other important ecosystems.

Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)

Last but not least, GOTS–is perhaps the most popular sustainable sourcing certification there is today. The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) Certification is a comprehensive certification system that sets strict standards for the processing, manufacturing, and labeling of textile products made from organicfibers. GOTS is recognized as the world's leading standard for processing textiles made from organic fibers, and it ensures that the products are socially and environmentally responsible.


To obtain GOTS certification, textile manufacturers must comply with a set of stringent standards that cover the entire textile supply chain, from harvesting the raw materials to labeling the final products. The standards include the use of organic fibers, the prohibition of toxic chemicals, the protection of workers' rights, and compliance with environmental and social criteria.


GOTS certification requires that at least 95% of the materials used in a textile product must be certified organic. The remaining 5% can be non-organic fibers, but these must meet strict environmental and social criteria, such as being recycled or produced through a transparent and ethical supply chain.



Conclusion: The Role Of Certification In Sustainable Sourcing


At the end of the day, sustainable sourcing can lead to cost savings by reducing waste, improving efficiency, and promoting long-term relationships with suppliers. Companies that thrive on proving their eco-conscious pledge help to reduce business risks associated with environmental and social issues, such as supply chain disruptions, regulatory compliance, and reputational damage. Most importantly, by adopting sustainable sourcing practices, companies can help to protect the planet, support local communities, and create long-term value for their stakeholders.