|Amelia Jones

Certifications 101

When companies use a trademarked certification on their product, it shows a commitment to meeting a higher industry standard. Read on to learn more about a handful of the certifications that our materials hold, and what those certifications represent.
certifications 101

When companies use a trademarked certification on their product, it shows a commitment to meeting a higher industry standard. Typically, a trademarked certification requires criteria met at various stages of production, putting responsibility on multiple people in the supply chain. For example, for wool to meet the Responsibly Sourced Wool (RWS) standard, not only do the sheep need to be raised and shorn in a humane and conscientious way, but the land in which the sheep live and graze must be managed with an understanding of soil and ecosystem health, and the integrity of the wool must be maintained through to the final consumer. Attaining these kinds of certifications is no easy task, and it requires that a whole team of people is on board for supporting higher standards in the industry. Read on to learn more about a handful of the certifications that our materials hold, and what those certifications represent.

OEKO-TEX® and GRS-Certified Fabrics

The next two certifications cover the fabrics that we use for our sofas. Our fabrics have both OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 and Global Recycled Standard (GRS) certifications. OEKO-TEX® (International Association for Research and Testing in the Field of Textile and Leather Ecology) was founded in 1992 in Zürich to ensure the safety of textile products for consumers by testing and certifying that they are free from harmful substances. GRS is a certification developed in 2008 by the non-profit organization Textile Exchange with the purpose of promoting the use of recycled materials, while also providing transparency in the supply chain of repurposed products.

OEKO-TEX® Standard 100

What It Means:

  1. Safe for consumers: OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 certification guarantees that textiles - including each individual thread and any design features - are free from substances that have been tested and identified as harmful to humans. Testing is carried out by independent and neutral partner institutes and is based on a comprehensive criteria catalog that is updated annually.
  2. High quality, high credibility: With over 30 years of building consumer trust, manufacturing with OEKO-TEX® certified fabrics ensures a high quality product that is both comfortable and reliable.

Global Recycled Standard

What It Means:

  1. Three main objectives: Creating a common definition of “recycled,” ensuring the content of recycled materials in a product, and being transparent with brands and consumers to best inform consumption patterns.
  2. Environmental and social responsibility: GRS seeks to benefit the planet and people by supporting the repurposing of materials that could otherwise sit in landfills or our oceans. In addition to the materials themselves, GRS certification ensures that the processing of products is handled in an environmentally conscious way.
  3. Pushing for more: Textile Exchange also states that one of the main goals for GRS is to advocate for products to use even higher proportions of recycled content.

RWS-Certified Wool

We use sheep wool to add an extra layer of softness and comfort in our sofas. Sheep wool is a naturally biodegradable, fire-resistant, and hypo-allergenic material. Domestic sheep do not have the ability to shed naturally (fun fact: breeding sheep for denser wool and continuous wool growth - as opposed to shedding wool - began in the Bronze Age, around 3000 B.C.!), so they must have their wool shorn to avoid issues like overheating, infections, and mobility challenges. Beyond the concerns of management of grazing pastures and water usage, one interesting aspect of sheep’s impact on the environment is the role they play in the carbon cycle. As sheep consume organic carbon from grass and plants, through digestion the carbon is incorporated into the proteins that make up the wool - in fact, carbon represents 50% of the weight of wool. While carbon is stored in wool, it stays out of our atmosphere. The Responsibly Sourced Wool (RWS) certification was developed in 2016, again by Textile Exchange, to address unease related to animal welfare, worker rights, and environmental degradation. 

What It Means:

  1. Humane treatment of animals: In following the best practices and standards from around the world, RWS-certified sheep farmers must uphold the Five Freedoms of animal welfare. These include freedom 1) from hunger and thirst, 2) from discomfort, 3) from pain, injury, or disease, 4) to express normal behavior (proper space), and 5) from fear and distress.
  2. Preserving land health: Through responsible land management practices, RWS-certified farmers actively work to protect biodiversity and native species on the land, preserve soil health, reduce chemical use, and overall minimize the environmental impact of wool production.
  3. Protecting worker rights and safety: RWS-certified farmers must ensure that their workers have a respectful working environment, that the facilities are safe and healthy, and that they have full access to organize and negotiate for higher pay.
  4. Transparency and traceability: A collection of chain of custody criteria covers issues like upkeeping a strict record of sheep and their wool and ensuring the integrity of certified material is maintained through to the final consumer.

These certifications represent only a few of the many standards across the product industry. We think it’s important that consumers understand what these certifications mean, and that they have the ability to dive deeper in their research through open sharing of the criteria. It’s also important to be critical and to recognize that these certifications are by no means perfect - these standards are dynamic and should be subject to continuous enhancement. By fostering a culture of improvement within these certifications, we collectively pave the way for a more sustainable and transparent furniture industry.


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