Certifications and Evaluations
eco-INSTITUT, based in Cologne, Germany, started in 1988. It is an independent testing and verification firm which has gained a reputation for testing above and beyond standards set by governmental agencies in the European Union, Canada, and the United States. The focus of their testing is safety of materials in regards to content and emissions.
From May 2012 to the end of 2014, eco-INSTITUT was part of UL, the US-based global firm of laboratories for testing products and processes.
eco-INSTITUT tests several categories of products:
• Construction products
• Floor coverings
• Mattresses and bedding
• Furniture and furnishings
• Textiles and leather
• Consumer goods
Of special consideration for uses of their website is the category Mattresses and Bedding. Within this are several sub-categories:
• Sleeping bags
• Further goods of bedding
• Latex mattresses
• Foam mattresses
• Innerspring mattresses
• Mattress cores
• Bed bases
• Beds/Bed systems
• Further kinds of mattresses
Although based in Germany, the companies whose products are tested by eco-INSTITUT are from all over the globe. This includes several producers of latex in Southeast Asia and foam producers in China. eco-INSTITUT GmbH does not test for organic status, sustainability, and fair wages and working conditions. It is accredited by the German accreditation organization Deutsche Akkreditierungsstelle GmbH (DAkks) as qualified to conduct certain kinds of testing. Those relevant to mattresses and bedding are chemical examinations of textiles and leather as well as consumer goods, examinations of indoor air, and test chamber examinations. For example, for mattresses with latex this includes both raw latex (sap) and finished latex foam, as well as other foams which may be in the mattress and finished textiles in the coverings.
eco-INSTITUT and North American Mattresses
At least two US manufacturers rely on eco-INSTITUT to test the latex used in their mattresses, PlushBeds and Savvy Rest. In posts on their blogs, they relate how and why they use eco-INSTITUT.
Michael Penny of Savvy Rest visited eco-INSTITUT in Cologne in 2008. In the post he stressed their higher standards and gave a simplified listing of process for approval. They test the Dunlop latex produced by Coco-Latex in Kerala State, India, used in Savvy Rest mattresses.
In 2014, in What Does it Mean to Be an Eco-INSTITUT Tested Product? Andrew Merton of PlushBeds gives a short description of what eco-INSTITUT tests, the approval process, and how it relates to latex used in PlushBeds’ Botanical Bliss mattresses.
Relation To Other Organizations
Like IMO Certification in Switzerland, eco-INSTITUT tests products to see whether they meet or exceed the standards set by standard-setting organizations and government regulatory agencies. In this respect, it works in cooperation with organizations such as IVN and GOLS.