It is a difficult topic, and there are many stories and anecdotes about it. At this point, we would just like to explain why we do not emphasize test products and certificates.
As far as the area of tests/product testing
or tested products is concerned, there are — as everyone knows — two organizations that have mastered this topic, Stiftung Warentest, a semi-governmental institution, which is credible in theory, due to its status, but whose test results are nevertheless only partially reliable, as one basically tries to keep the companies indemnified.
In the field of mattress tests, it is noticeable that the test criteria are sometimes so lax, that even really lousy products still score fairly well. Consumers looking for quality do not have any useful help in making a decision. Instead, the significantly larger group of "savings buyers" is approached, inferior products are evaluated in a separate group with simple test parameters, thus encouraging a decline in quality.
The other institution 'Ökotest' is a private publishing house and cannot guarantee the safe separation of advertising customers and test aspirants.
There are conclusive, reliable tests/test results from both sides, as well as those that require a lot of humor ... as long as you are not affected.
For example, in the field of natural mattresses, there are cases where one competitor who uses the same QuL-certified materials as others, was given a lower grade because different results were obtained in that batch of materials. It also could have been the other way around and in each case, it is clearly noticeable for the one with the lower grade, and consumers feel uncertain. Also one measures with double measure, with Ökotest a fully synthetic (and miserable in price/performance) Tempur mattress is found to be ' good' in the 2nd attempt (after 'sufficient' in the 1st test) (Stiftung Warentest: 'unsatisfactory'), while natural mattresses are immediately devalued, if they contain synthetic material shares. This is not comprehensible.
It is known from both Stiftung Warentest and Ökotest that products from certain manufacturers are preferred in the respective test, while other, equally relevant products do not appear. So if manufacturers do not do the appropriate 'lobby work', they have a reduced chance of being included.
The conclusion is that the test is too much of a marketing tool that is fought over by the industry but often does not offer quality-oriented consumers satisfactory support, especially since quality products often come from small manufacturers and - due to their low market significance - do not even appear in the test.
With time, we have gained enough experience with tests and test results from Stiftung Warentest and Ökotest (mainly positive ones) to make the decision not to work with the marketing instrument 'test result'.
We commit ourselves to remain true to our basic ethical rules and to achieve the quality goals that we are fundamentally striving for. And we want to present our information and statements, both written and oral, in such a way that every consumer can easily understand and comprehend them.
It is a similar matter to the certificates.
The certification criteria are often unclear to the consumer and it requires trust in the respective certification agency.
Products or manufacturers who receive a certificate from an organization must fulfill certain conditions for this purpose, but compliance with these conditions is not necessarily checked (or is not necessarily verifiable), but it is assumed that they are met. Thus, in the end, one must trust a company again. In effect, a certificate is also just a marketing tool.
If, for example, the certification of organic cotton is guaranteed by the fact that the manufacturer/processor sends a sample to a test laboratory once a year, you will ultimately trust this manufacturer/processor. If a textile product is decorated with an eco-label indicating that it has been tested for 200 harmful substances, it makes a good impression and lures us to purchase it. However, it is just as hard to tell whether it has been produced in a questionable way somewhere in Central Asia, as it is to tell whether it really comes from a certified organic farm because many conventional products also pass several tests for harmful substances. Also one must know, which test parameters are used and how much sense it makes.
There are also many examples and stories here that ultimately make it clear that it's all about trust, and we want to build this up through the greatest possible degree of openness in product presentation and consulting, rather than through a seal.
In order to make this clear, it should be mentioned that the author and founder of Futonwerk co-founded and built up the QuL, but turned away from this association due to an indifferent ethical attitude — in an already small circle of members — and corresponding courses of action.
Today we are still a member of the IVN
- the mother association of the GOTS.