What criteria must be met in order to earn this certification? And what exactly does the certification process look like?
In general, certification can only be given for a complete product. In other words, every single processed material must be within the respective limits. Therefore, each individual material must be tested at the mass production level – for us, this means that we have to order a minimum quantity (with additional fees) for our fabrics in advance solely for this purpose. And of course, during the production you have to plan additional time for this entire process.
This is followed by a lot of paperwork: a long application form, getting and checking the pre-certificates. In this context, the testing laboratory receives a minimum quantity of each individual material, along with a sample of the final product for inspection. The so-called pre-certificates that have already been issued for individual materials can be recognised – otherwise, really every single material must be individually tested. If any individual materials exceed the maximum limits, an analysis is performed to determine where the error is; then the material is produced again and re-tested.
After all tests have been successfully passed, there is more paperwork to take care of: For the required company audit, you have to fill in an application form in advance, specifying in detail what the quality assurance system looks like, both at our company and at that of the producer. In addition, information must be provided on many other things, like the storage of the materials, the manufacturing and the communication with the supplier – as certified materials must be stored separately in order to prevent so-called cross-contamination. This is followed by an on-site company visit, which is a detailed inspection of the manufacturer, at our offices in Hürth. And then finally at some point you receive the certificate!