Government-run textile label Deutsche Bahn rail company opts for fairly produced Green Button uniforms

Press release 30 Juli 2021 | BERLIN – German rail company Deutsche Bahn (DB) systematically works for sustainability – and that includes textiles. It has adopted the goal of getting all its railway uniforms certified with the Green Button (External link), a government-run textile label. The company's main supplier has already been certified. This means that, in the future, all 43,000 staff members working in customer relations will be wearing sustainably made company uniforms.

For the new outfits for conductors, train restaurant staff, ticket counter staff and railway station service staff, a completely new design has been developed by fashion designer Guido Maria Kretschmer. DB has laid down high standards for the clothing – not only in terms of design and quality but also in terms of sustainability. By getting Green Button certification, DB is deepening its active commitment to social responsibility and making it visible.

Minister Gerd Müller said: “Fair first! I am delighted that Deutsche Bahn has opted for the Green Button label. It is more than just a textile label – it is a sign for global responsibility. Private and public institutions can contribute a lot to fair supply chains if they systematically shift to sustainable procurement. From now on, DB's 43,000 staff members will demonstrate, day by day, that fair outfits are stylish and functional. The company is thus sending a visible signal of responsibility and sustainability. This is also a signal to the rest of the corporate world: sustainability is a competitive advantage. More and more consumers are no longer willing to accept the exploitation of humans and the environment in the manufacturing of our products. German authorities, too, from the federal level all the way to the local level, need to commit now and achieve 100 per cent sustainable procurement by 2025. All procurement units can start in the textile sector and adopt the Green Button as a basis.”

Martin Seiler, DB Board Member for Human Resources, said, “Sustainability is the core brand value of Deutsche Bahn, which is a climate-friendly company. In that spirit, as a 'green host' we want to make sure that our corporate clothing, with which we present ourselves throughout the country as a friendly and modern company, meets top standards. We are thus all the more pleased about the Green Button label as a special recognition of our sustainable customer relations. We are convinced that staff members who are dressed well and feel comfortable will provide even better service to our customers. Moreover, the new uniforms are more functional and comfortable, increasing our staff members' job satisfaction and sense of commitment to DB.”

Vista Textil GmbH, a Munich-based company, has become the first supplier of DB corporate clothing to have successfully undergone the Green Button company auditing procedure. Vista Textil supplies all the outer garments for the staff (trousers, skirts, dresses, waistcoats, blazers and suit jackets). Eight further suppliers are to undergo the auditing process in the coming months. All textiles that are part of the new set of corporate garments have already been certified with the MADE IN GREEN by OEKO-TEX label, which is recognised by the Green Button.

The cooperation effort with Deutsche Bahn is another milestone on the Green Button's road to success. Since it was introduced in September 2019, the significance of the government-run textile label has constantly increased. More than 70 companies have now undergone the auditing process. In 2020, some 90 million Green Button-certified textiles were sold. Consumers are now able to wear Green Button products “from head to toe” – from hats to T-shirts and sneakers all the way to workwear and corporate clothing. There are also bedding items, backpacks and tents that have the label. In surveys, 40 per cent of people say that they are familiar with the Green Button.

The Green Button can make a particular difference for a shift towards greater sustainability throughout the entire textile industry when it comes to procurement by public and private institutions, with the large number of items that this involves. Apart from Deutsche Bahn, the Dorint hotel chain, hospitals, nursing facilities and police authorities have already entered into cooperation with the Green Button. The German State of Bavaria is planning to restrict its textiles procurement to products that have been awarded the Green Button or similar labels. Germany's two large faith-based social service agencies, Caritas and Diakonie, have opted for sustainable textiles, too. The 2.2 million beds alone which they have in their 56,000 facilities require huge quantities of textiles.