GRS stands for Global Recycle Standard and is an international standard concerning the sustainable production of garments and textile products from recycled materials.
Interesting notes about GRS
- The GRS standard certificate was created by the large international non-profit organisation Textile Exchange in order to promote sustainability in the textile industry;
- The GRS standard ensures that certified products contain 20% pre-consumption and post-consumption recycled material, and that the processes by which the recycled material is used comply with sustainability requirements;
- Textile waste reduction, life cycle extension and textile recycling – as promoted by the GRS standard – are an integral part of the EU plan to achieve a circular economy by 2050.
The textile sector is an important battleground for sustainability and for a just ecological transition. According to the European Environment Agency, only in 2020 textile purchases in the EU generated about 270 kg pf CO2 emissions, required 391 kg of raw materials and 9m3 of water per person. The fashion industry is a source of environmental and social concern, being responsible for 10% of global carbon emissions and founded on a production model often fueled by systematic violations of human rights. Textile production generates 20% of drinking water pollution, while at the other other of the value chain literal mountains of discarded clothes are burnt or stockpiled far from the eyes of their former owners, such as in the Atacama Desert in Chile.
The production of clothing has increased considerably since 2000; utilisation, on the other hand, has decreased, thus shrinking the life cycle of products. In this context, promoting the recycling and sustainable production of textile products is extremely important. For a textile product to be certified as complying with the GRS standard, an environmental declaration is drawn up and submitted for verification by a third party. In the preliminary assessment of the products and the production process, the third party assesses the product composition, the conformity of raw materials and suppliers, and the suitability of the chemicals used in the specific manufacturing processes. This is followed by a verification to ascertain the actual compliance of the products with the GRS criterial, the proper organisation and management of the manufacturing processes and internal procedures, the maintenance of traceability to ensure that recycled material is correctly identified, and compliance with relevant environmental and social criteria. On the basis of the assessment and verification, a certificate of compliance with the GRS standard is issued. Afterwards, the maintenance of the conditions of compliance is monitored by regular inspections.