There is no doubt that there is a rather bewildering range of self certification schemes and standards that fashion industry businesses can use but the recent criticism levied on high profile schemes such as the Higg Index, Cradle to Cradle and The Microfibre Consortium have caused consternation. Whether there is any justification to the criticism remains to be seen but these schemes do offer a level of comfort which is otherwise lacking due to a lack of standardized regulation at a statutory level. However this does pave the way nicely for the impending EU proposal to regulate this area.
The criticism in itself highlights the mounting consumer activism and demand for social responsibility on the part of organisations which is driving change throughout the fashion sector as well as elsewhere. The question is not when but how long until regulators take over and businesses cannot ignore the impact of their activities. For those already using the leading schemes at least they are a step ahead and probably in a better position to ensure swifter legal compliance once laws are imposed.