In Berlin on 09 September, German Economic and Development Minister Gerd Müller (CSU), officially launched his key project creating the ‘Grüner Knopf’ (Green Button). The Federal Economic and Development Ministry will award the Green Button certificate to textile-based products that comply with a series of environmental and social production standards, thereby providing a layer of guarantees to consumers seeking equitable and sustainable production processes. The Green Button’s overriding characteristic is that companies are monitored in their entirety and as such merely producing some products in a sustainable and equitable manner will no longer suffice. According to the Minister, 27 companies including start-ups, SMEs, and big names such as Aldi Nord, Aldi Süd, Lidl, Kaufland and Rewe Group, as well as leading names in sustainable development including Tchibo and Vaude have already met the criteria to secure the ‘Green Button’ label on their textile products. The initiative however is not without its detractors and some NGOs have criticized shortfalls in the concept and the fact it is being launched on a voluntary basis instead of making it mandatory and they are calling for legislation to be adopted.
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