Global Organic Textile Standard
Global Organic Textile Standard
Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS) - GOTS recognizes companies who maintain globally recognised environmental AND social standards throughout our supply chain from the organic cotton farms, through to our point-of-sale. Assessed factors include production processes, labour standards, traceability of organic materials, distribution methods, packaging materials, and more.
The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is the world's leading textile processing standard for organic fibres, including ecological and social criteria, backed by independent certification of the entire textile supply chain.
The aim of the standard is to define globally recognised requirements that ensure the organic status of textiles, from harvesting of the raw materials through environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing all the way to labelling in order to provide credible assurance to the end consumer.
Textile processors and manufacturers should be able to export their organic fabrics and garments with one certification accepted in all major markets.
The consensus of the International Working Group was that a clear and unambiguous understanding of the content required the Global Organic Textile Standard itself to focus on compulsory criteria only. The standard covers the processing, manufacturing, packaging, labelling, trading and distribution of all textiles made from at least 70% certified organic natural fibres. The final products may include but are not limited to: fibre products, yarns, fabrics, clothes and home textiles. The standard does not set criteria for leather products.
The key criteria for fibre production can be identified as:
- -Organic certification of fibres on the basis of recognised international or national standards (e.g. EEC 834/2007, USDA NOP)
- -Certification of fibres from conversion period is possible if the applicable farming standard permits such certification
- -A textile product carrying the GOTS label grade ‘organic’ must contain a minimum of 95% certified organic fibres whereas a product with the label grade ‘made with organic’ must contain a minimum of 70% certified organic fibres.
Processing and Manufacturing
Key criteria for processing and manufacturing include:
- Environmental Criteria
- -At all processing stages organic fibre products must be separated from conventional fibre products and must be clearly identified
- -All chemical inputs (e.g. dyes, auxiliaries and process chemicals) must be evaluated and meet basic requirements on toxicity and biodegradability/eliminability
- -Ban on critical inputs such as toxic heavy metals, formaldehyde, aromatic solvents, functional nano particles, genetically modified organisms (GMO) and their enzymes
- -The use of synthetic sizing agents is restricted; knitting and weaving oils must not contain heavy metals
- -Bleaches must be based on oxygen (no chlorine bleaching)
- -Azo dyes that release carcinogenic amine compounds are prohibited
- -Discharge printing methods using aromatic solvents and plastisol printing methods using phthalates and PVC are prohibited
- -Restrictions for accessories (e.g. no PVC, nickel or chrome permitted, all polyester must be post-consumer recycled from 2014 onwards)
- -All operators must have an environmental policy including target goals and procedures to minimise waste and discharges
- -Wet-processing units must keep full records of the use of chemicals, energy, water consumption and waste water treatment, including the disposal of sludge. The waste water from all wet-processing units must be treated in a functional waste water treatment plant.
- -Packaging material must not contain PVC. From 1 January 2014 onwards, any paper or cardboard used in packaging material, hang tags, swing tags etc. must be post-consumer recycled or certified in accordance with FSC or PEFC.
- Technical Quality and Human Toxicity Criteria
- -Technical quality parameters must be met (such as rubbing, perspiration, light and washing fastness and shrinkage values)
- -Raw materials, intermediates, final textile products as well as accessories must meet stringent limits in regard to unwanted residues
Minimum Social Criteria
All processors and manufacturers must meet minimum social criteria based on the key norms of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). They must implement social compliance management with defined elements to ensure that the social criteria can be met.
Quality Assurance System
Generally, a company participating in the GOTS certification scheme must comply with all criteria of the standard. GOTS relies on a dual system to check compliance with the relevant criteria consisting of on-site auditing and residue testing.
- Cretification of the entire textile supply chain
- -Fibre producers (farmers) must be certified according to a recognised international or national organic farming standard that is accepted in the country where the final product will be sold
- -Certifiers of fibre producers must be internationally recognised according to ISO 65 and/or IFOAM accreditation. They also must be accredited to certify according to the applicable fibre standard
- -Operators from post-harvest handling up to garment making and traders have to undergo an annual on-site inspection cycle and must hold a valid GOTS operational certificate applicable for the production / trade of the textiles to be certified
-Certifiers of pocessors, manufacturers and traders must be internationally accredited according to ISO 65 and must hold a ‘GOTS accreditation’ in accordance with the rules as defined in the ‘Approval Procedure and Requirements for Certification Bodies’.
- -Stringent orientation values for unwanted residues are defined in the standard
- -Licensed operators must undergo residue testing according to a risk assessment of contamination
- -Additional samples may be taken by auditors and sent for analysis to ISO 17025 accredited labs
Only textiles produced and certified according to the provisions of the standard can carry the GOTS label.
The standard provides for a subdivision into two label-grades:
Label grade 1: 'organic'
≥ 95% certified organic fibres, ≤ 5 % non-organic natural or synthetic fibres
Label grade 2: 'made with X% organic'
≥ 70% certified organic fibres, ≤ 30 % non organic fibres, but a maximum of 10% synthetic fibres (up to 25% for socks, leggings and sportswear)
The only differentiation for subdivision is the minimum percentage of 'organic' material in the final product. This is analogous to leading organic regulations in the food market, such as USDA/NOP. The remaining balance (up to 5% or 30% respectively) may be composed of non-organic fibres, including defined regenerated and synthetic fibres (25% at most for socks, leggings and sportswear and 10% for all other textile products). Blending conventional and organic fibres of the same type in the same product is not permitted.
If raw fibres with the certified status 'organic - in conversion' are used instead of certified 'organic’ fibres, the corresponding label grades are 'organic - in conversion' or 'made with x% organic - in conversion materials'.