In a complex historical and economic moment that has led companies to review their paradigms and parameters, corporate social responsibility is a not secondary competitive lever for affirming the value of a company. Recognizing and documenting one’s commitment to creating products, processes or services that meet specific requirements is therefore an element not to be underestimated in order to increase one’s credibility and reputation. The certifications, mandatory, regulated or voluntary, are functional for this. If their task is therefore clear, it may not be clear to non-experts how they are born and why they are important. To explaining it is Marco Più, scientific and organizational coordinator of Tessile e Salute Association, a social enterprise that deals with sustainability and eco-toxicology in Fashion and works in support of the Ministry of Health as a technical terminal for the protection of consumer health, in relation to textile-leather goods-footwear, also collaborating with the Ministry of the Environment, with the Ministry of Economic Development and with ICE.
How is a certification born?
Certifications, whether they refer to standardized rules or private protocols, arise when for a product or service it is necessary to control, measure and verify compliance criteria, such as compliance with certain environmental, social, eco-toxicological requirements. If this is the technical motivation, it is also true that more and more frequently there is a spread of brands and labels that assert anything. This is why it is important to establish that a label does not automatically mean that behind it there is a true methodological protocol and third party control, two pillars of a reliable certification.
Why is it important for a company to get it?
When a company decides to certify its product or process, it does so for market reasons which, at that moment, requires certain assertions to start or continue a collaboration. Certification is therefore first of all, today as yesterday, a market tool that mainly serves the customer to recognize, evaluate and select its supply chain and in turn guarantee superior quality standards. An example for everyone: to participate in public tenders it is necessary to have quality or environmental certifications. However, this motivation should not be read in a negative way: undertaking a certification process allows a company to work on its management and organization system, perhaps breaking old schemes and no longer efficient ways of operating and thus opening up to new growth prospects.
What are the positive effects in terms of growth?
The positives range from the implementation of effective controls and measurements of its products and services, to the reorganization of processes up to the implementation of management systems with significant reductions in the use of resources and significant repercussions on the associated impacts. Synthesizing: lower costs, less waste, reduced environmental impact, greater social equity. A series of values that Tollegno 1900, associated with Tessile e Salute for several years, shares, proving to be very attentive to our activities and the services we provide to member companies
Tessile e Salute is one of the certifications on which Tollegno 1900 counts. To date, more than 100 member companies from 7 regions have the same product and / or process certificate. From what premises was this certification born?
The certification of Tessile e Salute project becomes operational in 2012, after a work done together with Unioncamere for the TFashion certification. From 2021 the project is also enriched with a registered European certification mark, named ETHIC-ET. We work on the analysis and evaluation of the chemicals used in the entire chain of the company that is certified, so that the use of toxic and restricted chemicals is eliminated from processing, from the environment and from consumer items. The certification attests that the company and its upstream supply chain adopts good processing and control practices for toxic substances placed on the restriction list, guaranteeing the eco-toxicological requirements of the National Chamber of Italian Fashion. Tollegno 1900 joined in 2014 and in 2015 it requested and received, after the inspection process, Tessile e Salute certification. Since then, the company’s sustainability awareness path has expanded and continues thanks to our support.
Italy and certifications: how does our country behave compared to the rest of the world? Virtuous or to be postponed?
The certifications, even if we limit ourselves to those of interest to the textile sector, are manifold whether they are systematic, such as those of quality, environment, social responsibility for example, whether they are private. My perception is that in Italy, for both types, we are much more active than in many other markets. To my knowledge in textiles, the needs to satisfy the market have led many companies to adopt even many more certifications than those that are really useful or indispensable. For me, the principle remains that a certification, in addition to responding to a market need, represents an opportunity for growth for the company and for the enhancement of a social commitment.