Licensing and labelling
Here are details concerning use of the quality seals.
A licensing contract is signed with IVN or GOTS as issuing authority of the appropriate seal that specifies, among other things, the licensing fee payable. For the use of the IVN quality seals BEST and NATURLEDER, non-member companies currently pay a fee of 1.5% of the sales achieved with the labeled product. A one-time fee of 750 € for the registration of logo use is due for the first certification. The final licensing fee is offset by this amount. IVN members are exempt from licensing fees for BEST or NATURLEDER products.
The GOTS licensing fee is not based on sales but rather on the number of inspected production plants. The licensing fee is 120 € for every production plant inspected for the label user. Certified businesses that are members of IVN pay half of the licensing fee (60 €/year/production plant).
Quality seals can be added directly to the product (for example on the label, hangtag or via imprint) in marketing certified leather goods, textiles or half-finished products. There is no additional fee for the use of the logos.
Use of the IVN Quality seal
The following information must always be printed in conjunction with the quality seal:
- specification of the certifier responsible for the certification of the certified product (name and /or logo of the certifier)
- specification of the certified business (Name and/or licensing number of the certified business)
If the GOTS logo is used, the appropriate label level must also be specified. In addition to its function as identifying certified GOTS products, the GOTS logo also represents the Global Organic Textile Standard itself. It must therefore be used exclusively in an appropriate and unambiguous context, for example for purposes of information or marketing by
- members of the international working group (IWG)
- designated certifiers in reference to their recognized status and in reference to the services offered in that context
- certified business and dealers in GOTS products in reference to their status as certified businesses and/or their GOTS products that are labeled with the GOTS logo.
- NGOs, media and others who provide independent (consumer) information.
The complete licensing requirements as well as requirements pertaining to the use of the label (including design specifics) are found in the guidelines for licensing and labeling, available for download here.
Obligation for certification for product labeling
It is vital for IVN as standard issuing authority that a credible and standard product security is guaranteed. Consumers that buy a labeled product must be assured that this product has been fully inspected and certified. That is why there are strict requirements for the use of logos.
Finishing and manufacturing plants beginning with the fiber sourcing methods through yarn or surface production and including sewing, packaging and labeling are only allowed to use the logo if they are themselves certified. The IVN quality assurance system requires that, in addition to the entire finishing and manufacturing chain, B2B businesses (businesses that sell to other businesses, for example wholesalers, import- and export agencies) must participate in the inspection and certification process if the final product is to be labeled with an IVN quality seal. Although trading entities do not change the product, they buy and sell certified products and are therefore important links in terms of transparency for and traceability in the production chain. The certification of trading entities focuses on the documentation of product flows. To achieve this, certifiers compare the quantities of products bought as opposed to quantities sold to verify that all products bearing the GOTS, BEST or NATURLEDER seal have actually been certified. The requirement that wholesalers be certified ensures that they are aware of the need for documentation to confirm the authenticity of certified products. Their certification thus contributes to assuring the integrity of certified products. Businesses certified according to IVN BEST and Naturleder are obligated to label their products. Businesses certified according to GOTS are not obligated – their labeling is voluntary. Retailers (including chains) that sell prepackaged and labeled IVN certified finished products exclusively and directly to consumers are exempted from the certification requirement. Wholesalers whose gross annual sales of certified products amount to less than 5,000€ are also exempted from the certification requirement insofar as they neither repack nor relabel certified products. They must, however, be registered with an accredited certifier and immediately inform the latter if their sales exceed 5,000€