What is GRS, and what does it mean for you and your business when it comes to purchasing workwear and PPE? Nick Grinnell explains…
What is GRS?
The Global Recycled Standard (GRS) provides independent verification that products claiming to be made from recycled materials are genuine, and that responsible social, environmental and chemical practices have been followed in their manufacture.
The standard aims to encourage innovation in and increase the use of recycled materials in product manufacture, to establish more transparency in the supply chain for these products, to provide brands with a tool for more accurate labelling of their products, and to provide customers with better information to inform their purchasing decisions.
What does it mean if a product is labelled with GRS?
Businesses whose products achieve the GRS have shown the highest standards in consideration of ethical, social and environmental issues throughout the supply chain for that product – from the sourcing of raw materials, through processing, manufacturing, packaging, labelling, trading and distribution.
The standard’s rigorous process looks at traceability, adherence to environmental principles, consideration of social requirements, chemical content, and labelling.
If a product is labelled with GRS, buyers can be certain that:
- It contains at least 50% recycled content, and that any claims about a greater proportion of recycled content have been independently verified;
- Raw materials are ethically and responsibly sourced, in line with best environmental practice;
- Environmental impact is minimised throughout the manufacturing process;
- Workers throughout the supply chain are treated fairly and according to internationally-recognised labour standards;
- Its supply chain is robustly managed to minimise risk and to avoid unethical or questionable practices, and negative social or environmental impacts down the line;
- Of complete traceability throughout the chain of custody as recycled materials pass through the supply chain.
What are the benefits of GRS for buyers?
As global markets have expanded, buyers are faced with more choice than ever before. With a growing awareness and consideration of ethical, social and environmental issues at point of purchase also comes competition among manufacturers who want their products to be seen as the environmentally-friendly choice in their sector.
However, sadly, not all claims made are genuine. ‘Greenwashing’, as it is known, is when businesses use marketing spin and disinformation to present an environmentally-responsible image that underestimates or suppresses the true impact of their operations on people and planet.
Find out more about greenwashing in workwear and PPE in our blog on this topic.
GRS accreditation provides peace of mind that a product is what it says it is – ethically produced and delivered, from raw material to finished item, in a manner that minimises environmental and social impact.
Purchasing a product with GRS accreditation allows businesses to be certain that they are enhancing their own sustainability through that purchase.
What’s more, GRS is a voluntary standard – it is not compulsory – and the process of obtaining it is rigorous and lengthy. This means that businesses that achieve it have gone above and beyond to minimise the environmental and social impact of the product’s manufacture, and to ensure that every part of its supply chain operates in the same ethical manner.
Supporting those who go about doing business in this way is one of the ways in which we can all help to save the planet for future generations, and will hopefully drive innovation in the use of recycled materials in product manufacture, as well as provide impetus for those not yet adhering to the same high standards.
At iSB Group, we stock a number of products that have achieved GRS standard. For more information on our range of sustainable workwear and PPE, or to find out more about GRS and other sustainability standards, give us a call or get in touch via our website.