GOTS Global Organic Textile Standard Certification

Written by Zulekha Nishad

Last Updated June 13, 2024

If you are an eco-conscious consumer, you might have heard about the Global organic textile standard certification. But what exactly does it mean to be GOTS certified? In this article, we will discuss all about the GOTS label and the essential prerequisites textile products must meet to receive this certification.

what does it mean to be gots certified

Key Takeaways:

  • To be GOTS certified, a product must contain a majority of organic natural fibers, and based on the percentage of organic fiber, there are two GOTS label grades - 'GOTS organic' and 'GOTS made with organic.'
  • The entire textile process is monitored closely and strictly to meet the GOTS standard, and this includes social criteria such as no child labor, safe and hygienic working conditions, no discrimination, and prohibition of excessive working hours and inhuman treatment.
  • The GOTS certification process also includes monitoring water and energy usage, labeling organic raw materials at each stage of the supply chain, and prohibition of harmful chemicals, bleaches, and printing methods, among others.
  • GOTS certification promotes a company's aim towards being more sustainable and environmentally conscious by setting strict and extensive environmental criteria for the supply chain, constantly keeping the company on its toes to not use inhumane and environmentally toxic mechanisms.

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Sustainability is a word that has been doing the rounds over the past few years. Whether it's big corporations changing their environmental policy or the common man discarding the use of straws, everyone has woken up to the fact that the fate of the earth lies in our hands.

Everything from the food we eat to the clothes we wear has an impact on Mother Nature. This also implies to the sort of raw material we use to pass off as fashion as well as the sheets and pillows we use for our bedroom décor.

Before the era of environmental consciousness, raw materials like cotton were directly sourced to meet the needs of the population without holding any accountability for child labor, draining of the quality of the soil, etc. But with the global focus shifting to sustainability, even raw materials like cotton have also come under a strong lens of scrutiny.

And hence the GOTS Global Organic Textile Standard came into being. The aim of the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is to define requirements to ensure the organic status of textiles, from harvesting of raw materials, through environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing up to labeling in order to provide a credible assurance to the end consumer.

What is GOTS?

Not to be mistaken with the acronym of a famous American fantasy television series, GOTS, The Global Organic Textile Standard is the world's leading processing standard for organic textiles. To put it simply, a GOTS certification ensures that the product you're purchasing is made in a sustainable and ethical way, meeting global standards.

GOTS was created to meet the need for a globally recognized standard for all organic fibers, including cotton, wool, silk, and bamboo. In 2002, four organizations comprising the Organic Trade Association of the United States and three other member organizations from the UK, Germany, and Japan together stood up to standardize guidelines for this global standard of certification.

gots  (global organic textile standard) certification?

How Does a Product Receive GOTS Certification?

In order to be GOTS certified, a product must contain a majority of organic natural fibers. Based on the percentage of organic fiber in the product, there are two GOTS label grades - 'GOTS organic' and 'GOTS made with organic.'

two gots label grades - GOTS and GOTS made with organic

The remaining 5 percent of 'GOTS organic' and 30 percent of 'GOTS made with organic' label grades comprise recycled synthetic fibers like polyester or regenerated fibers such as lyocell.

Recycled synthetic fibers are made using recovered industrial waste from landfills or waterbodies. When compared to virgin synthetic fibers, their production needs less water and fuel.

Regenerated fibers are made with natural materials like wood cellulose, which undergoes a chemical manufacturing process, producing fine regenerated fibers. The semi-synthetic fibers are neither natural (cotton or silk) nor synthetic (polyester). However, the final product must be made with a minimum of 70% organic fibers.

To meet the GOTS standard, the entire textile process is monitored closely and strictly. For example, in the case of organic fibers like cotton to be GOTS certified, firstly, a certification from the governmental organic farming standards is needed to make sure the cotton fiber is grown and farmed without GMO seeds and the use of any harsh chemicals or pesticides. GOTS-approved organic cotton means that the product has been ethically sourced and monitored strictly during the production process.

Along with the processing as well as manufacturing criteria, there are social criteria that must be followed to meet the GOTS requirements. This includes no child labor, safe and hygienic working conditions, and no discrimination. Excessive working hours and inhuman treatment are also prohibited.

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GOTS Certification Process

During the production process of fabrics, water and energy usage are closely monitored. GOTS must be provided with the correct information and statistics on how much water and energy they use per kg of textile production. Target goals and procedures are executed to reduce water and energy consumption if they do not meet the GOTS standards.

Here are some important GOTS certification criteria to consider:

  • Organic raw materials must be clearly labeled during each and every stage of the supply chain.
  • Once the raw fiber is collected, processing and manufacturing should be strictly monitored to ensure all dyes/process chemicals are evaluated and meet toxicity and biodegradability requirements.
  • The use of toxic heavy metals, harmful chemicals, Parathion, Mercury, Benzidine, Aldicarb, any aromatic solvents, Formaldehyde, GMOs, and their enzymes is prohibited.
  • Bleaches used in the process must be oxygen-based. Chlorine bleaching is highly prohibited.
  • All chemical inputs such as dyes that release carcinogenic amine compounds are prohibited.
  • Discharge printing methods(with aromatic solvents) and plastisol printing methods (with phthalates and PVC)are prohibited,
  • Operators must ensure that they have an environmental policy, including target goals and procedures to reduce waste.
  • Packaging materials should be free of PVC. All cardboard, tags, papers, etc., must be recycled or certified accordingly.

From the farm to the final product, once the whole process is monitored and meets the GOTS criteria, the product becomes GOTS certified, and manufacturers can use the GOTS label in the final product.

How does GOTS certification help?

How does GOTS certification help companies

Becoming GOTS certified actually promotes a company's aim towards being more sustainable and environmentally conscious. By setting strict and extensive environmental criteria for the supply chain, GOTS constantly keeps a company on its toes to not use inhumane and environmentally toxic mechanisms. It includes the quality assurance of onsite inspection and product testing, meaning there is no chance of the end consumer being duped and thereby builds customer loyalty.

The standards of production set by GOTS s improved eco-efficiency. As the demand for sustainability in the textile, especially in the decor and fashion industry, increases, companies engaged in eco-friendly processing will eventually see higher customer demand.

Growing Demand for GOTS-Certified Products

With the rising consciousness about sustainable living and the harmful effects of toxic chemicals in textiles, there is an unusual demand for organic fibers in the world today. Certain chemicals can affect human health and the environment adversely.

The GOTS standard limits the use of toxic chemicals like formaldehyde and phthalates, which may emit life-threatening gases. Since there are GOTS-certified facilities in more than 45 countries right now, these products have an extensive appeal and are accepted in major markets worldwide.

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So yeah, GOTS is much more than just a certification. It represents a commitment to sustainability, fair labor practices, and high-quality textiles that are better for both people and the planet.

By choosing GOTS-certified products, you are not only making a conscious and positive impact on the environment but also supporting the well-being of workers in the textile industry. So next time you're shopping for clothes or home textiles, look out for the GOTS label and know that you're making a great choice. Let's all work together to create a better and more sustainable world, one textile at a time!

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Disclaimer: What is said in this article has been referenced from multiple sources and is intended only for educational and informational purposes. Please note that no content in this article is a substitute for professional advice from a qualified doctor or healthcare provider. Always consult an experienced doctor with any concerns you may have regarding a health condition or treatment, and never disregard any medical suggestions or delay in seeking treatment because of something you read here.