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?

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