European Flax™ certification

Find out about the European Flax™ certification features, advantages and how to obtain it. Standard version 3.0 is available from July 18th 2023.

European Flax™ green background

NEW ! 
Evolution of the European Flax™ Standard

 Find out more about the main changes in the dedicated article

European Flax™ standard version 3.0 is available from July 18th 2023 and available on  the technical documents page.
It becomes effective on February 17th 2024
. All audits conducted on or after this date shall be conducted according to European Flax™ version 3.0.

This video is also available with subtitles in:

Take a look below at European Flax™ tutorials covering a various range of topics :

Invoices: this tutorial is also available with subtitles in:

Subcontractors: this tutorial is also available with subtitles in:

Multisite certificates: this tutorial is also available with subtitles in:

Product composition: this tutorial is also available with subtitles in:

1. What is European Flax™?

European Flax™ is the guarantee of traceability for premium flax fiber grown in Western Europe for all its outlets - fashion, home, technical products, others. A vegetable fiber from an agriculture that respects the environment, without irrigation* or GMOs. 
*Except in exceptional circumstances.

European Flax™ is an internationally registered trademark of the Alliance for European Flax-Linen & Hemp and its subsidiary CELC DEVELOPPEMENT.

European Flax™ is the answer to consumer expectations and CSR requirements.

Origin of the fibre and Traceability of materials throughout the value chain:

  • Consumer demands: an offer from environmentally friendly production, clear traceability.
  • European Flax™ fibre is grown and scutched in Western Europe: France, Belgium, Netherlands, representing ¾ of the world's flax fibre production.

A production of the fibre that is respectful of the environment:

  • No irrigation*
  • No GMO seeds
  • A local rotational crop: excellent head of rotation
  • Low use of fertilisers and pesticides; no defoliants
  • Natural dew retting in the field
  • 100% mechanical fibre production (scutching)
  • Zero Waste fibre - all parts of the plant are used and valorised (fibre, shives, seed...)
  • The Life cycle assessment (LCA) of European Flax™ scutched flax fibre is available and under development for the following steps of the value chain.

*Except in exceptional circumstances

Social and Ethical Responsibility:

  • A fibre produced in compliance with the rules of the International Labour Office
  • A 100% vegetable and vegan fibre

A fibre with proven performance:
Comfort, thermoregulation, moisture transfer, breathability

European Flax™ is the quality visa for premium European fibre flax for all markets.

European Flax™ preserves, promotes and supports a European agricultural and industrial exception, its territorial origin and non-relocatable know-how. It is an ambitious global brand which is intended to be identified by the end consumer.

The European Flax™ certification guarantees a traceability that is verified by an independent third party organisation (certification body) for products made of pure linen or containing a minimum of 50% linen.
The English word "flax" has been legitimately chosen. The term "Flax" is related to the plant and the fibre. The term "Linen" is related to textiles: yarn, fabric, clothing etc.
All the technical requirements and criteria regarding the certification process and its use are detailed in the European Flax™ Standard.

The European Flax™ fibre is the raw material sourced at 100% by Masters of Linen™ certified spinners.

2. How to become European Flax™ certified?

Created by the Alliance for European Flax-Linen & Hemp, the European Flax™ certification guarantees a flax fibre of Western European origin (France, Belgium, Netherlands), and its traceability throughout the value chain. Whether you are a scutcher, a processor, a trader or a brand/retailer, you will find below the requirements for obtaining this certification.

2.1 Eligibility

European fibre producers are committed through the European Flax™ Charter, a set of criteria to be respected regarding origin and responsible practices. All scutching mills from Western Europe have signed the Charter and are listed on the certified companies page.

The European Flax™ certification guarantees the traceability of linen products based on the Chain-of-Custody principle. This principle means that each link in the value chain that is the owner of the certified material, is certified, up to the last business-to-business transaction. 

Subcontractors, not being the owners of the certified material, are declared in the certification perimeter of their client and are therefore verified, but do not need to be certified.

European Flax™ traceability chain chart

Download the European Flax™ Traceability Chain

Upstream: European fibre producers are committed through European Flax™ Charter, a set of criteria to be respected regarding origin and responsible practices. All scutching mills from Western Europe have signed the Charter and are listed on the certified companies page.

Downstream: all stakeholders (processors and traders of European Flax™ material) commit to guarantee the traceability of their value chain, by respecting the European Flax™ standard, and by submitting to annual verification audits carried out by independent certifying bodies.

Brands and retailers must in some cases become European Flax™ certified and be subject to the annual audits.

All technical requirements and criteria related to the certification process and the use of the certification are detailed in the European Flax™ Standard.

The associated European Flax™ Certification Process document details steps to be taken to implement the certification requirements.

2.2 Certification procedure

The European Flax™ certification process is aimed at every link in the value chain taking possession of certified material and wishing to process or sell this material, according to the chain-of-custody principle.

This procedure is detailed for each stakeholder and each case in the Certification Process document and summarised in the diagram below:

Arbre décisionnel European Flax™
Arbre décisionnel European flax™

Download How to Become European Flax™ Certified

Application documents

These documents should be completed and returned to:

  • the Alliance for European Flax-Linen & Hemp for companies in Europe and Africa
  • the corresponding local office of the certification body Bureau Veritas for companies in other geographical areas.

Certification/audit preparation documents

  • The Standard European Flax™
  • The European Flax™ Certification process
  • The European Flax™ Checklist
  • The European Flax™ Guidance document

These documents shall be consulted in their most recent version available before each audit.

2.3 Steps and timeframe

The certification process steps are detailed as follows:

  1. Application:
    RFQ to complete and send for validation to the Alliance for companies in Europe and Africa, or to the corresponding Bureau Veritas Local Office for companies in other geographical areas (see contacts).
  2. Agreement signature:
    Once the RFQ is validated, Bureau Veritas contacts the company with a commercial offer (3-year certification contract) to be signed.
  3. Audit planning:
    Discussions between the Bureau Veritas certification body and the company to plan an audit date.
  4. Audit:
    Carried out by the certification body
  5. Technical review of the audit:
    once the audit has been carried out, and if all the required documents have been provided by the company, the audit is reviewed by the auditor, then by the international coordinator of the certification body
  6. Certificate issuance:
    In the absence of non-conformities, the certificate is issued by the certification body.

The certification is valid for a period of 3 years, with annual audits carried out by the certification body Bureau Veritas.

In general, between the validation of the RFQ and the issuance of the certification, an average delay of 17 weeks is to be expected.
Certification is a process that requires reactivity and investment of time from a company. The application for a certification must therefore be anticipated sufficiently ahead of time.

Note: Companies that have not yet received their certificate are allowed to buy and process certified materials. However, they cannot sell certified materials until they have received their certificate.

2.4 Cost of European Flax™ certification

  • Audit :
    Annual flat rate of €2,500 per year, per company (with possible additional costs in case of multiple sites or of subcontracting).
  • Composition tests :
    300 € per year for processors from the 2nd year onwards, applicable to processors with activities at risk of fibre blending (see European Flax™ Standard v3.0). Composition tests shall be performed according to the methodology from the norm ISO standard #20706-1, dec.2019, co-created by Alliance Bast Fiber Observatory.
    Note that composition tests for processors can be included in the Bureau Veritas offer (except in Asia) or carried out separately at one of the accredited laboratories.
  • Membership:
    For European companies, a membership fee for the Alliance for European Flax-Linen & Hemp applies depending on the company's activity (contact us).
    Based on the application/RFQ received, Bureau Veritas Certifications will establish a technical and commercial proposal.
  • Use of the Trade Mark :
    The use of the mark is granted free of charge to certified companies and brands/retailers by the Alliance for European Flax-Linen & Hemp, without licensing fees, and submitted to the signature of the Trademark Terms of Use (contact us).

3. How to verify that a product is European Flax™ certified?

A product can be certified as European Flax™ only if:

  • All the links in its value chain are European Flax™ certified up to the last business-to-business transaction. This includes traders and in some cases brands/retailers.
  • It meets the European Flax™ criteria, including following composition criteria:
    - It is made from at least 50% flax/linen
    - It is made from 100% European Flax™ certified material
  • Its sales invoice features the following information:
    - The European Flax™ certificate number of the direct supplier
    - The composition of each certified linen product
    - The mention "European Flax™ certified" for each certified product

For more details on the information to be checked on invoices, see Guidance document.

4. How to find a European Flax™ certified company?

The Alliance for European Flax-Linen & Hemp has listed all companies that have obtained the  European Flax™ certification in its Certified Company Directory.

You can download the list of certified companies as a pdf file until the update of the online directory is complete.

Consult the directory of European Flax™ certified companies

5. How to label my European Flax™ products?

Only European Flax™ certified products can be labelled as such (How to verify that a product is European Flax™ certified).

All types of communication, labelling, use of the logo and claim around the European Flax™ certification must respect the criteria of the European Flax™ Graphic Charter and be validated by the Alliance.
The use of the mark is granted free of charge by the Alliance for European Flax-Linen & Hemp, without any licensing fees, after signing the Trademark Terms of Use (contact us).

Label my European Flax™ products as a European Flax™ certified company

European Flax™ certified companies along the value chain are allowed to label their products (semi-finished and finished) European Flax™ by following the steps below:

  1. Sign the Trademark Terms of Use and return it to the Alliance for European Flax-Linen & Hemp
  2. Obtain your European Flax™ certificate from the certification body
  3. Receive the European Flax™ marketing tools (including logo and Graphic Charter) sent by the Alliance. For scutchers, the marketing tools are delivered by the national linen association.
  4. Send all communication projects (labels, brochures, website, etc.) to the Alliance for verification and validation.

Label my European Flax™ products as a brand or retailer

For a brand or a retailer, the certification for their finished products depends on their supply chain. In some cases, brands and retailers must become certified to the European Flax™ standard and be subject to annual audits (Certification Procedure).

Brands/retailers may use the European Flax™ logo and tools in their communication and marketing, by following the steps below:

  1. Verify that their direct suppliers are European Flax™ certified.
  2. Verify that their products are European Flax™ certified.
  3. Contact the Alliance for European Flax-Linen & Hemp for full information on the certification and its terms of use.
  4. Complete and sign the Trademark Terms of Use and the Company Profile and return signed to the Alliance for European Flax-Linen & Hemp.
  5. Receive the European Flax™ marketing tools (including logo and graphic charter) sent by the Alliance.
  6. Send all communication projects (labels, POS communication, brochures, website, etc.) to the Alliance for verification and validation.
  7. Send each year a few copies of purchase invoices showing product certification to the Alliance for verification (confidential information such as prices can be hidden).

6. Contacts for European Flax™ certification

Certification Body Contacts

Bureau Veritas - France, Europe, Africa
Mr Medhi CHINOUNE | medhi.chinoune@bureauveritas.com
Mrs Catherine FERAUD | cateherine.feraud@bureauveritas.com

Bureau Veritas - China
Mr. Xiangyun WANG | xiangyun.wang@bureauveritas.com | + 86 1801 7502 125

Bureau Veritas - Taiwan
Ms Mavis LIU | mavis.liu@bureauveritas.com | +886-922 762 662

Bureau Veritas - Vietnam, Cambodia, South Korea, Myanmar, Indonesia
Mr. Thien DINH | thien.dinh@bureauveritas.com

Bureau Veritas - India / Sri Lanka
Mr. Dinesh K SHETTY |dinesh.shetty@bureauveritas.com |+91 22 62742929

Bureau Veritas - Bangladesh
Mr. Tareq AHMED | tareq.ahmed@bureauveritas.com

Bureau Veritas - Pakistan
Mrs. Sabeen AHAD | sabeen.ahad@bureauveritas.com

Bureau Veritas - Japan
Mr Masaya SATO | masaya.sato@jp.bureauveritas.com

Bureau Veritas - Technical and international coordination

Mrs Charlotte Aubin | charlotte.aubin@bureauveritas.com
N.B.: Other geographical areas are managed by BV France, with a local auditor.

Contact for information, marketing tools and feedbacks

Alliance for European Flax-Linen & Hemp

 Accredited laboratories’ contacts

The laboratories below are members of the Bast fibre Observatory and accredited for the composition tests required for certain companies in the framework of the European Flax™ certification.

 BUREAU VERITAS CPS FRANCE
34B Rue de la Ladrié - 59650 VILLENEUVE D'ASCQ - FRANCE
+ 33 (0)3 20 46 34 56
www.bureauveritas.com
E-mail contact: supportclients.cpsfra@bureauveritas.com

CENTEXBEL 
Technologiepark 70 - 9052 ZWIJNAARDE - BELGIUM
+32 (0)9 220 41 51
www.centexbel.be
E-mail contact: labo.chemisch@centexbel.be

CENTROCOT - CENTRO TESSILE COTONIERO E ABBIGLIAMENTO
Piazza S. Anna, 2 - 21052 BUSTO ARSIZIO (VA) - ITALY
+39 0331 696711
www.centrocot.it
E-mail: info@centrocot.it

CETELOR - Centre d'Essais Textile Lorrain
27 Rue Philippe Seguin - 88000 EPINAL - FRANCE
+33 (0)3 72 74 96 80
www.cetelor.com
E-mail contact: naoual.bousmat@univ-lorraine.fr 

CITEVE
Rua Fernando Mesquita, nº 2785 - 4760-034 VILA NOVA DE FAMALICAO - PORTUGAL
+351 252 300 300
www.citeve.pt
E-mail contact: citeve@citeve.pt

IFTH - INSTITUT FRANÇAIS DU TEXTILE ET DE L'HABILLEMENT
Zone de l'Union - 41 rue des métissages - 59200 TOURCOING - FRANCE
+33 (0)3 20 19 74 00 (lab) / +33 (0)4 72 86 16 44 (sales)
www.ifth.org
E-mail: commercial@ifth.org

7. European Flax™ technical documents

See all the technical documents to download in order to obtain the European Flax™ certification.

Access to technical documents of European Flax™ certification

European Flax™ certification

Need additional information on the European Flax™ certification? Submit your request to our teams by filling out this form.

Do you have a business account on our website?

Log in

To be regularly informed of our news, subscribe to the professional newsletter.

Your data will be used by Alliance for European Flax-Linen & Hemp to respond to your request. To find out more about the management of your personal data and to exercise your rights, see the page « Your data and your rights »

Learn more about Certifications