This is how it all began, over 30 years ago:
Manufacturers wanted to produce environmentally friendly and healthy clothing.
In the 1980s, manufacturers of natural textiles were still associated as part of „Bundesverband Naturkost“ (natural foods) Two parallel developments provoked the wish for a separate ‚textile-specific association: 1, „Bundesverband Naturkost“ focussed almost exclusively on foodstuffs and 2, natural textiles were increasingly sold not in organic food stores but in specialized retail shops or mail order companies. In response, four businesses involved exclusively with the production of natural textiles founded ArbeitsKreisNaturtextil (AKN) in 1989.
It was clear from its inception that the most important task AKN had to tackle was to formulate transparent quality standards for textiles along the entire production chain. In so doing, this small association of later 12 producers created a significant reputation for itself.
In order to provide an umbrella organization for all protagonists within the natural textile industry, Arbeitskreis opened its membership. To this end, the Internationale Verband der Naturtextilwirtschaft e. V. (IVN) was founded in 1999. Now membership reflects all segments of the natural textile and natural leather industry, beginning with fibre generation and including retailers. Even private individuals can become supporting members of IVN.
Since 2000, the IVN awards the quality seal „NATURTEXTIL BEST“. As the first quality seal in the world, it assesses all stages of textile production and includes social accountability standards.
Since 2001 the IVN awards a quality seal for ecologically produced leather goods. The first articles labeled „NATURLEDER IVN“ were sold on the market in 2009.
As of 2002, IVN is founding member and leading coordinator of the “International Working Group on Global Organic Textile Standard“ (IWG) . This group achieved the standardization of country specific requirements for the production of environmentally friendly textiles. In addition to IVN, other members of IWG are Soil Association (England), Organic Trade Association (USA), and Japan Organic Cotton Association (Japan). The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) offers consumer assurance through a single and transparent global standard, breaking down international trade barriers for the natural textile industry.
In 2007 the first business certifications for GOTS were awarded by IWG. In 2008 GOTS developed its own image seal and the first products so labeled became available on the market.
Today IVN has approximately 100 members. Interested in membership?