Pros and cons of business certifications and memberships

Shopify Staff
Shopify Staff
5 0 4

Hey community! It would be lovely to hear thoughts on the pros and cons of seeking certifications, or membership, as a business looks to stand true to their values. I would love to hear from others that have gone through the processes, or have deliberately opted not to. Are there certifications you would advice more for one type of brand over another? 

The types of certifications I'm thinking of include (but not limited to):

 - Oeko-Tex Standard 100

Cradle To Cradle (C2C) 

Certified B Corp 
1% for the planet

Working to grow my own clothing business, I keep coming back to the concept of certifications and memberships as a way to combat greenwashing, stay true to the brands values, and have confirmation from an outside source that the work is good, which may also be recognizable to consumers.  I've realized how varied certifications are, and how unrealistic some may be for start ups (ie annual costs of $5,000+ to see if you qualify, or audits that require too much travel to be reasonable.) Some are easier to attain, like the standard 100 which requires no cost to the label besides perhaps investing slightly more for higher quality fabrics. Wading through the weeds to find ones worth pursuing can be confusing and overwhelming . Would love to hear what viewpoints are out there. 

7 0 31

A few more "lower cost" membership networks to add to the list:


  • Pledge 1% - Free membership, the only requirement is to commit to giving 1% of your business' profits, products, equity, or time to your communities. 
  • UN Global Compact - UN Sustainable Development Goals are becoming more of a priority for businesses big and small. Offers various membership $ tiers for businesses to align, with opportunities to participate in local member events.

IMHO, the most important certifications/memberships are the ones that speak most authentically to your brand. We donate free tools to nonprofits and support SDGs, so Pledge 1% and UN Global Compact made the most sense to us.


Happy to chat more about either Pledge 1% or UN Global Compact, feel free to reach out to me!