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Certified Sustainability

The Green Button

Sustainable fashion is not always visible at first glance in German shops. The Green Button is changing that. As a state-run certification mark for textiles manufactured sustainably in line with social and environmental standards, it provides guidance when making purchasing decisions. The Green Button identifies clothing that has been produced in accordance with high standards relating to labor and the environment.


The Green Button was introduced as a German certification mark for textiles for corporate social responsibility in 2019. The label was developed by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in cooperation with the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ).

The government-run textile certification label Green Button has been in effect since September 2019. Since its launch, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) as scheme owner has been announcing that the Green Button would undergo further, step-by-step development. Measures to protect people and the environment are to be expanded, and risks are to be addressed even better - ultimately along the entire supply chain. 

The content to be read here is part of the Official Website of the Green Button, the certification label for sustainable textiles by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) of the Federal Republic of Germany.


More about the Green Button can be read on >>

The Green Button is a government-run certification label for sustainable textiles. Everyone who aims to purchase socially and environmentally sustainable clothes should look out for the Green Button. It is attached directly to the product, making it easy to find when you are shopping – in a reliable and consumer-friendly way.

There is currently no other label like the Green Button. It demands that mandatory standards are met to protect people and the environment. A total of 46 stringent social and environmental criteria must be met, covering a wide spectrum from wastewater to forced labor.

The two pillars of the Green Button certification label

The company as a whole is required to demonstrate its social, environmental and human rights responsibility, on the basis of 20 criteria.

Each product is required to comply with 26 social and environmental criteria, covering a wide spectrum from proper wastewater discharge to a ban on forced labor.



The Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung), abbreviated BMZ, is a cabinet-level ministry of the Federal Republic of Germany. Its main office is at the former German Chancellery in Bonn with a second major office at the Europahaus in Berlin.

Founded in 1961, the Ministry works to encourage economic development within Germany and in other countries through international cooperation and partnerships. It cooperates with international organizations involved in development including the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and the United Nations. 

There are around 1.200 people working at the BMZ in Germany. Furthermore, there are 130 BMZ officials deployed abroad. The BMZ is headed by the Minister Gerd Müller, the Parliamentary State Secretaries Maria Flachsbarth and Norbert Barthle, and the State Secretary Martin Jäger.


Environmental Criteria

The Green Button bans the use of hazardous chemicals and softeners and lays down mandatory limits on effluent discharge.

  • Ban on hazardous chemicals

  • Biodegradability of chemical substances

  • Limits for wastewater

  • Less air pollution and CO₂

  • Use of natural fibers tested for pollutants

  • Sustainable procurement of chemical fibers

Social Criteria

The Green Button sets mandatory requirements for decent work, from guaranteed minimum wages and compliance with working hours to a ban on child labor and forced labor.

  • Ban on forced labor and child labor

  • Ban on discrimination and harassment

  • Payment of the minimum wage

  • Working hours and paid overtime

  • Right to freedom of assembly and collective bargaining

  • Health and safety at work must be guaranteed


One year after its launch, more than 50 companies now offer products with the German government-run Green Button certification label. That’s double the number at the start, despite the COVID-19 crisis, which is hitting the textile industry hard.

One-third of all Germans already recognize and approve of the Green Button. Many have already bought products – shops sold around 50 million textiles with the Green Button label in the first half of 2020. This means the Green Button is now a firm fixture on the market, along with the social and environmental criteria it stands for. Sustainably produced textiles that comply with these standards are easier for consumers to find and are making their mark.

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