GOTS: The certification your textiles should have

The Glob­al Organ­ic Tex­tile Stan­dard (GOTS) is a world­wide lead­ing tex­tile pro­cess­ing stan­dard for organ­ic fibers, includ­ing eco­log­i­cal and social cri­te­ria, backed up by inde­pen­dent cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the entire tex­tile sup­ply chain. With an increas­ing demand for sus­tain­able and eco-friend­ly prod­ucts, GOTS cer­ti­fi­ca­tion has become a cru­cial bench­mark for the tex­tile indus­try, con­sumers, and the envi­ron­ment. This arti­cle will explore the sig­nif­i­cance of the GOTS stan­dard, what to check for, and its impact on sus­tain­abil­i­ty.

GOTS textile

GOTS – The Gold Standard for Organic Textiles

GOTS was devel­oped by lead­ing stan­dard set­ters to define glob­al­ly rec­og­nized require­ments for organ­ic tex­tiles. It cov­ers the pro­cess­ing, man­u­fac­tur­ing, pack­ag­ing, label­ing, trad­ing, and dis­tri­b­u­tion of tex­tiles made from at least 70% cer­ti­fied organ­ic nat­ur­al fibers. The stan­dard ensures that the tex­tile prod­ucts are processed using envi­ron­men­tal­ly and social­ly respon­si­ble meth­ods, from har­vest­ing raw mate­ri­als to fin­ish­ing the final prod­uct. By adher­ing to the GOTS cri­te­ria, tex­tile man­u­fac­tur­ers can min­i­mize their envi­ron­men­tal foot­print, pro­vide safe work­ing con­di­tions, and pro­mote sus­tain­able farm­ing prac­tices.

GOTS textile
Tex­tile Fac­to­ry, 2023

What to Check for GOTS Certification

For a tex­tile prod­uct to car­ry the GOTS label, it must meet strict cri­te­ria and under­go rig­or­ous inspec­tions by an accred­it­ed cer­ti­fi­ca­tion body. Here are some essen­tial aspects to check for GOTS cer­ti­fi­ca­tion:

  1. Organ­ic Fiber Con­tent: The tex­tile prod­uct must con­tain at least 70% cer­ti­fied organ­ic fibers. For the “organ­ic” label, the con­tent should be 95% or more.
  2. Pro­hib­it­ed Chem­i­cals: GOTS pro­hibits the use of harm­ful chem­i­cals, such as azo dyes, formalde­hyde, heavy met­als, and chlo­rine bleach, dur­ing pro­cess­ing and man­u­fac­tur­ing.
  3. Envi­ron­men­tal Cri­te­ria: GOTS-cer­ti­fied oper­a­tions must fol­low strict envi­ron­men­tal guide­lines, includ­ing waste­water treat­ment, ener­gy and water man­age­ment, and the use of nat­ur­al or low-impact dyes and aux­il­iaries.
  4. Social Cri­te­ria: GOTS requires man­u­fac­tur­ers to adhere to the Inter­na­tion­al Labor Orga­ni­za­tion (ILO) con­ven­tions, ensur­ing fair wages, safe work­ing con­di­tions, and pro­hibit­ing child labor.
  5. Inspec­tions and Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion: GOTS cer­ti­fi­ca­tion involves annu­al on-site inspec­tions, exten­sive doc­u­men­ta­tion, and reg­u­lar updates to main­tain com­pli­ance.
Pho­tog­ra­phy by Susan Wilkin­son, 2021
GOTS textile
Pho­tog­ra­phy by Ranurte, 2021

How GOTS Certification Impacts the Industry, Environment, and Consumers

  1. Indus­try: GOTS cer­ti­fi­ca­tion helps tex­tile man­u­fac­tur­ers dif­fer­en­ti­ate them­selves in the mar­ket, cater­ing to the grow­ing demand for eco-friend­ly and sus­tain­able prod­ucts. It pro­motes eth­i­cal sourc­ing, respon­si­ble man­u­fac­tur­ing, and trans­paren­cy in the sup­ply chain.
  2. Envi­ron­ment: GOTS cer­ti­fi­ca­tion sup­ports organ­ic agri­cul­ture, reduces harm­ful chem­i­cal use, con­serves water and ener­gy, and min­i­mizes waste and pol­lu­tion. Organ­ic farm­ing meth­ods con­tribute to health­i­er soil, improved bio­di­ver­si­ty, and low­er green­house gas emis­sions.
  3. Con­sumers: GOTS-cer­ti­fied tex­tiles offer con­sumers the assur­ance of eco­log­i­cal­ly and social­ly respon­si­ble pro­duc­tion. By choos­ing GOTS-cer­ti­fied prod­ucts, they can sup­port sus­tain­able agri­cul­ture, eth­i­cal labor prac­tices, and min­i­mize their envi­ron­men­tal impact.
Tex­tile Fac­to­ry, 2023

The Role of GOTS in Promoting Sustainability

GOTS cer­ti­fi­ca­tion plays a piv­otal role in pro­mot­ing sus­tain­abil­i­ty with­in the tex­tile indus­try. By fos­ter­ing organ­ic agri­cul­ture and respon­si­ble man­u­fac­tur­ing prac­tices, GOTS con­tributes to sev­er­al Unit­ed Nations Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment Goals (SDGs), such as SDG 12 (respon­si­ble con­sump­tion and pro­duc­tion), SDG 8 (decent work and eco­nom­ic growth), and SDG 13 (cli­mate action).

More­over, GOTS cer­ti­fi­ca­tion encour­ages con­tin­u­ous improve­ment and inno­va­tion in the tex­tile sec­tor, push­ing man­u­fac­tur­ers to adopt clean­er tech­nolo­gies, reduce waste, and con­serve resources. It also helps raise con­sumer aware­ness about the envi­ron­men­tal and social impacts of tex­tile pro­duc­tion, pro­mot­ing respon­si­ble pur­chas­ing deci­sions and sup­port­ing the growth of a sus­tain­able tex­tile indus­try.

In con­clu­sion, the Glob­al Organ­ic Tex­tile Stan­dard is a vital tool for dri­ving sus­tain­able prac­tices with­in the tex­tile indus­try. By check­ing for GOTS cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, con­sumers can make informed choic­es, sup­port­ing respon­si­ble man­u­fac­tur­ing and con­tribut­ing to a more sus­tain­able future. The GOTS stan­dard not only ben­e­fits the envi­ron­ment and the indus­try but also empow­ers con­sumers to make a dif­fer­ence through their pur­chas­ing deci­sions. As the demand for eco-friend­ly and sus­tain­able tex­tiles con­tin­ues to grow, GOTS cer­ti­fi­ca­tion will remain an essen­tial bench­mark for the tex­tile indus­try, its stake­hold­ers, and the plan­et.
Explore more indus­try arti­cles on our ded­i­cat­ed page.

GOTS textile
Pho­tog­ra­phy by Karl Wig­gers, 2021

In-Depth Resources

Written by Mathis Reynaud
May 28, 2024

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