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A guide through the jungle of certified labels

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Ecology, sustainability, animal welfare, fair working conditions. There are certified labels for almost everything. Consumers are becoming increasingly sensitive to the challenges of our time and are trying to influence the future with their actions and consumption. In order to stand out from the competition and to credibly communicate their own efforts for the interests of their customers, many companies use a variety of certification standards.

Meanwhile, there are numerous initiatives and testing companies that declare different standards of production conditions with labels on every conceivable topic. As a result, keeping an overview is often a challenge.

To shed some light on the maze of certified labels, we asked our own certification expert and Alpine Trekker Jan for an interview:

Geese in a meadow. Jackets are lined with the down. The RDS label ensures that the down is not plucked from live geese.
Labels, such as the RDS, serve as a benchmark for the avoidance of animal suffering.

Can certified labels really help to identify sustainable products?

How do you feel about certified labels? Are they a good tool for identifying sustainable products?

First of all, one has to define exactly what a certified label actually is.

As I understand it, a certified label must fulfil certain criteria in order to be recognised as such. This includes an independent testing body that awards the certification – as well as transparent and verifiable requirements according to which it is evaluated and, where appropriate, is also divided into different standards of quality.

In contrast, there are numerous terms in the industry that might like to describe themselves as being certified labels, but for which it is not clear who or what is behind them, and which are not transparent or comparable in their assessment methodology.

However, if these basic requirements are met, certified labels can be excellently integrated into the purchasing decision process. They are then an important tool for deciding which products are worth considering or which brands are in line with your own ethical and moral values.

How can consumers find their way through all the cerification?

Certified labels can seem quite complex to consumers. What tips can you give readers to help them find their way through the jungle of certifications?

You’re not wrong! Certified labels can be complex and cover different topics, so that at first glance it is not immediately clear whether it is one regarding sustainable raw materials management, fair working conditions or being free from harmful substances.

Some labels pay very specific attention to one of these topics, while others cover a wide range from human rights compliance to environmental standards in the supply chain (such as Green Button).

So, before you go to your trusted dealer, my tips for making a purchasing decision based on labels are:

  • Briefly research the corresponding label on the internet.
  • Is there good or bad press that appears high up in the search results?
  • Is it a government label that therefore guarantees a high level of trustworthiness?
  • Which subject area does the corresponding label cover?

This will give you a basic overview, so that you can find out relatively quickly whether the label matches your expectations. If you can spare 5 minutes of your time, you can also take a look at siegelklarheit.de/en/. Here you will find everything you need to know about the most common (and not so common) certified seals in the market.

Litter on the beach at Cap Ferret
Litter on the beach is not an uncommon sight. Certified labels help to identify which products have been recycled.

How do I find sustainable products in the alpinetrek shop?

In our shop, there are several ways to find out information about sustainable products and also to find the products themselves. For all those who would like to know a little more about the topic of certified labels at Alpinetrek, our overview page on sustainable labels is a good place to start.

In addition, you will find corresponding filter options in most clothing and many equipment categories in our shop. Using the term “Shop consciously”, we give customers the opportunity to filter according to relevant criteria that go beyond the topic of sustainability.

Here you can look specifically for products made using recycled materials or focus on products that have been tested to be free from harmful substances. Of course, you’ll find the large and well-known labels such as bluesignFair Wear or the Responsible Down Standard.

As a result, anyone can quickly find products that meet their personal requirements for a more conscious purchasing decision.

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