The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) was developed by leading international standard setters in order to define world-wide recognized requirements that ensure organic status of textiles, from harvesting of the raw materials, through environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing up to labelling—in order to provide credible assurance to consumers. GOTS enables processors and manufacturers to supply their textiles made from organic fibres with one certification accepted in all major selling markets.
The mission is the development, implementation, verification, protection and promotion of the standard. This standard stipulates requirements throughout the supply chain for both ecology and labour conditions in textile and apparel manufacturing using organically produced raw materials. Organic production is based on a system of farming that maintains and replenishes soil fertility without the use of toxic, persistent pesticides and fertilizers. In addition, organic production relies on adequate animal husbandry and excludes genetic modification. GOTS contributes to sustainable development and actively cooperates with all relevant stakeholders.
This ultimate claim requires a holistic approach from field to fashion: It requires solutions from the raw materials in fibre production throughout the entire processing chain all the way to the consumer. GOTS is an appropriate implementing instrument. It is recognised as the leading processing standard for textiles made from organic fibres worldwide. It defines high level environmental criteria along the entire supply chain of textiles and requires compliance with social criteria as well. GOTS serves as an efficient supply chain management instrument and as credible insurance to the consumer to buy certified organic from field to finishes products.
The GOTS standard itself is green development. With its application the standard drives green development from a market-based perspective. This requires the continuous development process of the standard criteria in a multi-stakeholder process. GOTS’ revision process takes place every tree years The approach is to set strict and binding requirements regarding ecological and social parameters, while considering the need for practicability for industrial production of a wide range of products. To achieve this, all relevant stakeholders which operate internationally with expertise in the field of organic production, textile processing, textile chemistry and social criteria and representing the industry, NGOs and consumer interests in the programme are invited to contribute to the revision procedure.
Another example is the recently-launched tool GOTS Monitor Water/Energy which can be used free of charge by GOTS-certified entities to meet the GOTS criteria regarding water and energy efficiency. GOTS is also contributing to numerous studies like the Organic Cotton LCA Study from Textile Exchange. In May 2015, the first international GOTS conference was held in Mumbai to bring together all market players for organic textiles in a big think tank and networking forum.
The standard provides for a subdivision into two label-grades. Differentiation for subdivision is the minimum percentage of organic material in the certified product.
i) label grade 'Organic': No less than 95 per cent of the fibre content of the products—excluding accessories—must be of certified organic origin or from 'in conversion' period (identified and labelled as specified in chapters 1.4 and 2.1 of GOTS standard). Up to per cent of the fibre content of the products may be made of non-organic fibres that are listed under 'additional fibre materials' in chapter 2.4.9. The percentage figures refer to the weight of the fibre content of the products at normal conditions.
ii) label grade 'Made with Organic': Minimum 70 per cent of the fibre content of the products—excluding accessories—must be of certified organic origin or from 'in conversion' period (identified and labelled as specified in chapters 1.4 and 2.1 of this standard). Up to 30 per cent of the fibre content of the products may be made of non-organic fibres that are listed under 'additional fibre materials' in chapter 2.4.9. The percentage figures refer to the weight of the fibre content of the products at normal conditions.
GOTS - Global Organic Textile Standard
Claudia Kersten (Germany/Austria/Switzerland)
Christopher Stopes (Great Britain)
Sandra Marquardt (USA/Canada)
Satoko Miyoshi (Japan)
Stuart McDiarmid (Australia/New Zealand)
Sumit Gupta (India)
Shirley Han (China)