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If you're an eco-conscious consumer, you might want to know where your favorite home goods actually come from. Are you sure that you get them from companies that source and manufacture products in an ethical and environmentally friendly way? Do they label the products in ways that are easy to understand?
Not all manufacturers make it easy to be healthy and green. When you buy a latex mattress, a latex mattress topper, or a latex pillow, there are numerous certifications that indicate its quality and purity. If you want to be a savvy and eco-conscious shopper, you must be aware of organic certification standards like GOLS. If these products do not have GOLS certification, they could be made from Natural Latex but may have harmful chemicals added in the growing or in the manufacturing process.
In this article, you will learn all about the GOLS certification and why it is an essential certification that your bedding products must have.
GOLS, or Global Organic Latex Standard, is a global standard certificate pioneered by the Control Union that focuses on latex products, assessing farming and manufacturing processes, as well as the organic nature of the raw material as a whole.
When you purchase a latex product that meets the GOLS certification requirements, you make sure that the latex is harvested from the rubber trees at certified organic plantations that don't use toxins or chemical pesticides. These farming practices are better and safe for the environment. But this certification doesn't end there. These standards affect different aspects of the life cycle of latex, including:
GOLS Certified Organic Latex products satisfy mandatory environmental regulations and are studied, dissected, and certified at each and every level. The certification guarantees the buyers that the latex products that they are using are pure, certified organic raw materials and are free of chemicals, emissions, fillers, and/or polymers.
Control Union is the certifying body that pioneered GOLS and offers certificates of compliance. This internationally operating certification body aims at managing challenges with today's global marketplace and is active in inspection and certification in the organic and sustainable agricultural and textile industry. They offer a wide range of certification programs, including USDA NOP, JAS, EU, etc. Collaborating with highly reputed manufacturers and trade associations, Control Union devised the concept of certifying products made from organically grown latex progressively over time, which is now known to the world with the name GOLS- Global Organic Latex Standard.
While Control Union offers its certification for many latex products, organic mattress manufacturers are among the most common applicants. There are so many bedding companies out there who advertise their products as organic. But how can they prove that the products they are selling are organic and have met the biodegradability, toxicity, and processing standards? Well, the GOLS certification label is one of the most efficient ways to do that.
The primary aim of the GOLS certification is to assure quality latex products made with minimum chemical inputs. It also outlines requirements for both organic textiles and non-organic materials used in the final products.
To achieve the GOLS standard, a product must contain over 95% of certified organic raw material. The GOLS certification standard also monitors the other 5% of material required for producing latex foam.
The GOLS guidelines cover up the entire supply chain from harvesting the raw materials to carefully manufacturing, packing, and distributing the final products. Here are some of the major criteria that latex products must meet to receive the GOLS certification:
Natural latex must be harvested from USDA NOP (National Organic Program) certified organic rubber plantations to minimize harmful chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
GOLS-certified products must contain more than 95 percent of organic latex. Suppose there are other materials like cotton or wool included in the latex product. In that case, they must be GOTS or Eco-Institut certified to ensure even the non-latex materials are responsibly made with minimal chemical inputs.
GOTS or Global Organic Textile Standards evaluates organic fibers, starting from the raw material to the finished product. A GOTS-certified product must contain at least 70 percent organic fibers. An independent certification organization, Eco-Institut, based in Germany, examines textiles and building materials for toxic emissions and chemical substances.
The latex product must be processed and manufactured in GOLS-approved units. Every processing step, including the waste disposal, is checked by the certifying agency inspectors. These steps are followed to reduce the chances of environmental pollution and chemical residues, providing a sustainable and safe end product to the consumers.
According to the International Labor Organization, GOLS-approved units must meet social regulations to provide both safe working conditions and proper wages. Also, discrimination and child labor is not allowed.
Some examples of GOLS certification criteria include:
Environmental guidelines for pollution as well as impact minimization which includes:
Social guidelines to protect farm as well as factory workers from exploitation, which includes:
Manufacturing guidelines to protect consumers from unethical practices, which includes:
In addition to latex, GOLS allows the following materials/accessories for making the products:
You might be wondering why buying GOLS Certified Organic Latex products is important. There are many different certifications out there that make different claims. This can make it quite difficult for you to determine whether the latex product you're about to purchase is completely or partially free of chemicals.
For example, consider a latex mattress labeled as "all-natural." Do you think there is any point in this? Absolutely not! Labels like this could be utterly meaningless if there are no organic certifications behind them. Also, a mattress labeled "organic" may only have some certified organic materials, like an organic cotton cover. But, the materials present inside the mattress may be choked with chemicals.
Certified organic latex mattresses must make up 95 percent of the materials in a mattress in order to fit into the category of an "organic mattress," and there should not be any kind of chemicals involved in the manufacturing process.
What Does It Take to Get GOLS Certified?
The very first and basic step in the GOLS Certification process is applying to have your products tested. Once this is done, the certifying body establishes the scope and testing activities appropriate for whatever product is being certified (raw materials, a component, or the finished product)
All these assessments and tests may vary, but they'll generally include purity tests, quality tests, and tests for a range of toxic chemicals to make sure they're at levels that won't negatively affect human health. If the organization qualifies for the test, they'll receive their GOLS certification. If they fail, the certifying body will issue proper guidance to help manufacturers get their products up to snuff.