For many years Gudrun Sjödén has been passionate about nature and sustainable design. Over the decades environmental thinking has changed and come in and out of fashion. From our first tentative efforts in the 1980s when it was almost impossible, via our first eco-collection in the 1990s, right up until today, it has been a given for us.
We believe that many small steps will lead to big results. That’s why we are working hard to increase the ratio of organic products in our collections. In this huge jungle of environmental labelling, we felt that a simple code using leaves would be one way of helping both you and us. On every item where we have made an extra environmental choice, you will find the following symbols:
Gudrun’s Good Fibres
These items are made entirely or partly from a material grown and produced with sustainability in mind. The fibres we categorise as a good environmental option are organically grown, recycled, naturally retted flax, Tencel® lyocell, Lenzing Modal®, silk, alpaca, vegetable tanned and dyed leather along with wood and rubber. We impose requirements for transparency and we audit manufacturer certification.
Gudrun’s Good Manufacturing
These products are manufactured entirely or largely at audited factories geared to the best possible production processes for the external environment and human health. We make strict requirements for all the influential processes in the manufacturing to be certified, in some cases all the way to the stitching factory. We recognise the GOTS, Fairtrade and STeP by OEKO-TEX standards.
Gudrun’s Good Deed
These items are sold in aid of various charitable causes.
You will find these labelings from earlier collections
We award three leaves to garments for which the whole production process is certified at every stage. The entire process includes the following stages: cultivation, spinning, knitting/weaving, dyeing/printing, cutting and seaming. Each stage is GOTS and/or Fairtrade certified, inspected by international independent inspection organisations.Our fabric shoes are made in Pakistan in compliance with Fairtrade Standards, the organic cotton is grown in India by farmers certified by Fairtrade and the natural rubber in the soles comes from an FSC-certified plantation in Sri Lanka. The dyeing and printing processes meet the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).
Two leaves are awarded to our products made with more than 2/3 organic cotton or recycled fibres. Similarly, some of our regenerated fibres, Lenzing Modal® and TENCEL® lyocell, are so environmentally-friendly that we have decided to award them two leaves. Examples of fabrics or fabric blends with two leaves are:
-Products made of 50% organic cotton/50% Lenzing Modal®
-Products made of 100% TENCEL® lyocell
One leaf is awarded to our other fabrics that are an environmentally responsible alternative:
-Products with at least 2/3 lyocell, modal, linen, silk, wool, vegetable-tanned leather, jute, coir or hemp
-For example, products made of 50% organic cotton/50% modal
Products made from conventionally grown cotton
Products made in standard modal (non-certified, and not from Lenzing)
Products in, for example, 50% conventional cotton & 50% modal (certified or non-certified)
As far as our in-house environmental labelling is concerned, our policy is to downgrade rather than upgrade.
What enviromental choise can you make, as a customer?
Choose a design that is sustainable and functional
Choose environmentally labelled textiles when buying new items
Choose colours you can combine with existing clothes in your wardrobe
Buy and sell second hand
Cut down on and evaluate your consumption of new textiles
Wash your clothes less often and at lower temperatures (most garments can be cleaned at 40⁰C), air-dry instead of tumble-drying, air instead of washing, treat stains instead of washing the entire garment, use environmentally friendly washing powder (e.g. soap nuts), do not use fabric conditioner, and get clothes and footwear mended. Today, you could say with a hint of irony that we almost wash our clothes to pieces.
Every Swedish citizen washes an average of 200kg of laundry a year. This takes between 40,000 and 50 000 tonnes of washing powder per year, of which half is not necessary.
More in organic cotton and certification
Organic cultivation means growing cotton without the use of any chemical fertilisers, genetically modified organisms or inorganic fertilisers. When we talk about organic cotton etc. in a garment, it means that the garment is made from organic cotton. Today only around 1% of the cotton in the world is organically grown.
Certified or inspected means that someone has checked that what is said to be certified really is so, and that it has been made in accordance with a particular standard or a company’s own regulations. With our suppliers the most common inspection agencies are the Control Union and IMO, which follow the GOTS standard.
GOTS – Global Organic Textile Standard – is a standard that has been produced by the International Working Group. This consists of four well-reputed member organisations, namely OTA (USA), IVN (Germany), the Soil Association (UK) and JOCA (Japan). They contribute to GOTS together with further international stakeholder organisations and experts, with their respective expertise in organic farming and environmentally and socially responsible textile processing. There are two labels – one where 95% of the garment must be made from organic fibres (5% may be synthetic or regenerated fibres), and the other where 75-95% of the garment must be made from organic fibres.
The standards cover the following elements:
Raw material – 95% must be organically grown.
Spinning and weaving (criteria on the use of chemicals)
Bleaching – criteria for permitted chemicals
Pre and finishing treatments – approved and non-approved chemicals
Handling of waste – purification of waste water
Criteria for buttons, zips, shoulder pads
Packaging and transport
Levels of chemicals in final production
Control Union Certifications – an inspection agency. Previously known as Skal International and part of the Control Union company. Control Union is an international concern specialising in independent transport inspections and certifications. In 2005 Skal International became part of Control Union and now makes up Control Union Certifications.
The Institute for Marketecology (IMO) – is an international certification and inspection agency founded in Switzerland in 1990. This inspection agency is one of the foremost and most renowned international agencies for inspection, certification and quality assurance of eco-friendly products. Its worldwide activities are accredited by the Swiss Accreditation Service (SAS) according to EN 45011 (ISO 65), which is the international standard for certification. IMO offers certification for organic production and handling according to the EU Regulation (EC) no. 834/2007 and (EC) no. 889/2008. It has also been accredited by USDA for organic certification according to the American National Organic Program (NOP). Recently it has received reaccreditation by MAFF and offers certification according to the Japanese Agricultural Standard (JAS) for the Japanese market. For more than 20 years IMO has been active in the field of organic certification, but it is also expert in the sectors of natural textiles, sustainable forestry and social accountability monitoring.
Energy and water consumption during textile production – both water and energy are used to produce textiles. Below is a little table to show approximately how much it takes to make different materials.
Maximum water consumption in litres per kg of fibre
Cotton, approx. 10, 000-17,000 litres
Viscose 750 litres
Acrylic 350 litres
Wool 200 litres
Polyester 0 litres
Maximum energy consumption in MJ per kg of fibre
Acrylic, a little over 100 MJ
Polyester 100 MJ
Viscose 80 MJ
Cotton 70 MJ
Wool 9 MJ