Global organic textiles standard (GOTS) in the apparel industry

The Global Organic Textiles Standard (GOTS certificate) is the world’s leading textile standard, including ecological environment and social justice criteria. This standard is for organic fibers and is independently certified by the entire textile supply chain. So what criteria does this standard include and how is it checked? Let’s find out with Dugarco through this article!

1. What is global organic textiles standard (GOTS)?

The Global Organic Textiles Standard (GOTS) is the world’s leading standard for testing and certifying organic fibers used in the production of textiles made from organic fibers. The purpose of GOTS is to inspect fabrics from the harvesting of raw materials to the production process to ensure that they are organic. Textile products must be environmentally and socially responsible and give consumers confidence.

The GOTS standard was established by four reputable organizations. including the Organic Trade Association (OTA, USA), the Internationaler Verband der Naturtextilwirtschaft (IVN, Germany), the Soil Association (UK), and the Japan Organic Cotton Association (JOCA, Japan). With their own experiences with organic products, they together develop their handling standards for organic textiles. GOTS regularly updates the standard based on advice from relevant international organizations and experts.

the global organic textile standard
Items that are made with 95% organic ingredients will have the all-organic label

GOTS’s vision is for organic textiles to become an important part of everyday life, enhancing the environment and people’s lives. GOTS-certified textiles must contain a minimum of 70% organic fibers. Chemicals such as dyes and auxiliaries used in the product must meet certain environmental and toxicity criteria. The attached accessories must also meet the ecological aspects. In addition, the wastewater treatment plant must comply with social criteria.

>>>> CLICK HERE: Oeko-tex 100 standards certification | Definitions and benefits

2. Important criteria for the global organic textiles standard

The criteria for the Global Organic Textiles Standard are based on the consensus of the founding organizations. The requirements include: Fiber manufacturing; Manufacturing and processing; Environmental regulations; Health safety; Quality of textile supply chain; Labeling and packaging; Humanitarian and social criteria.

2.1. Fiber manufacturing

GOTS wants organic textiles to become an important part of people’s lives. So, developing the purest materials is the first step towards this goal. The requirements of the fiber manufacturing criteria set out in The Global Organic Textile Standard include the following:

  • Organic fibers must be cultivated and harvested according to international or national standards. GOTS will establish farming standards based on IFOAM Organics International.
  • Maintain the ecosystem, the health of the soil, and the people involved in the farming process.
  • Only natural fertilizers and pesticides are used instead of chemicals. This is to protect farmers, wildlife, soil, and groundwater from dangerous chemicals and the adverse effects of long-term exposure.
global organic textiles standard
Using fertilizers of natural origin in the production of organic fibers

2.2. Manufacturing and processing

Some requirements in the manufacturing and processing criteria of Global Organic Textiles Standard:

  • Identify which fibers are organic and separate them from conventional fibers. This step reduces the possibility of fiber mixing during processing.
  • Dyes, auxiliaries, and treatment chemicals used in production and processing must be evaluated for toxicity, safety, and biodegradability.
  • Using toxic heavy metals, formaldehyde, aromatic solvents, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and enzymes is prohibited during processing and production. They are hazardous to human health and the environment.
what is global organic textile standard
Chlorine bleach should not be used to treat and process textiles
  • Use oxygen bleach instead of chlorine bleach when handling textiles. Because oxygen bleach is more environmentally friendly, it is gentler on fibers and protects fabric colors.
  • The use of azo dyes is prohibited because it releases carcinogenic compounds.
  • Processing and manufacturing facilities must maintain adequate records of chemical and energy use. In addition, regularly monitor water consumption.

2.3. Environmental regulations

Global Organic Textiles Standard’s environmental standards include the following provisions:

  • For wet processing facilities, wastewater and sludge must be properly treated at a functional wastewater treatment plant. This is to prevent leakage into the environment. In addition, adequate records of chemical use, water consumption, energy, and wastewater treatment should be kept.
  • Input chemicals such as dyes, auxiliaries, and treatment chemicals must meet basic requirements for toxicity and degradability.
  • Use knitting oils that are free of heavy metals
what is organic textiles
Packaging materials or hang tags must be FSC or PEFC certified
  • The use of azo dyes is prohibited during processing because it releases carcinogenic amino compounds.
  • Plastisol printing methods using phthalates or PVC and discharge printing using aromatic solvents are prohibited.
  • There must be an environmental policy that includes objectives and implementation procedures to minimize waste in production and processing.
  • Product packaging materials after production should not contain PVC.

2.4. Health safety

According to The Global Organic Textile Standard, health and safety stipulate that raw materials or finished textile products must not contain any chemical residues. Some chemicals such as formaldehyde or phthalates cause nausea, and dizziness and greatly affect human health. In addition, finished products must not include nickel, chromium, or PVC fittings because these chemicals can cause asthma or allergies.

global organic textiles standard
Nickel, chromium, and PVC are chemicals that affect humans

2.5. Quality of textile supply chain

The requirements in the textile supply chain quality of the Global Organic Textiles Standard certification:

  • To ensure color fastness, the finished product must be tested for light fastness, washing, and scrubbing.
  • Evaluate the shrinkage value of the final product to meet GOTS guidelines.
  • Fiber production facilities must be certified to international or national organic farming standards.
what is organic textiles
Requirements in the quality of the textile supply chain
  • In addition, yarn manufacturers’ certifiers must be internationally recognized according to ISO 65 and/or IFOAM standards.
  • Operators from post-harvest handling to garment production undergo annual on-site inspections. They also have to have a GOTS operation certificate applicable to textile production/trading.

2.6. Labeling and packaging

Regarding labeling and packaging, Global Organic Textiles Standard stipulates that the packaging material should not contain PVC. If a business uses packaging paper or cardboard, it must be recyclable or certified by the appropriate global authorities. The certification bodies can be FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and PEFC (Forest Certification Scheme). In addition, the printing method must not include phthalates and PVC.

the global organic textile standard
Requirements in labeling and packaging criteria

2.7. Humanitarian and social criteria

The humanitarian and social criteria in The Global Organic Textile Standard are maintained throughout the entire production process of the finished product. This is to ensure the product is of the highest quality and produced most responsibly. This criterion includes:

  • Employers are employed according to the main standards of the International Labor Organization (ILO).
  • Ensure working in safe and hygienic conditions.
global organic textiles standard
Hygiene is one of the requirements of humanitarian and social criteria
  • Employees must be provided with a fixed minimum wage.
  • Employees should not be overworked or treated harshly.
  • There is no discrimination of any kind among employees.
  • Child labor is not allowed in GOTS.

>>>> CLICK FOR MORE: Textile labelling regulations US, UK, Canada and in Germany

3. How to check GOTS-certified clothing?

Products that are Global Organic Textiles Standard certified will have the certification logo. Alternatively, you can check the GOTS public database in case you want to check the authenticity of the GOTS label on a particular product. This database includes a list of manufacturers and products certified by GOTS.

what is global organic textile standard
Select the product category on the website to check the details on the GOTS logo

4. Who needs GOTS certification?

All steps in the supply chain during production must be certified by The Global Organic Textile Standard. In addition, anyone trading in GOTS-qualified goods with a turnover of more than 5,000 Euros a year must be GOTS certified. Some of the operations certified by GOTS include cotton trimming machines, knitting machines, spinning machines, knitting machines, weaving machines, wool carding machines, wet processors, importers, etc.

what is organic textiles
Some subjects need to obtain GOTS certification

5. Frequently asked questions about GOTS Certification

Here are 4 frequently asked questions about Global Organic Textiles Standard:

5.1. What is the meaning of GOTS Certification?

Global Organic Textiles Standard (GOTS) is widely accepted in the retail sector. It is meant to represent the quality assurance for organic textiles. Products that meet GOTS standards are manufactured in factories with good working conditions and according to ILO guidelines.

the global organic textile standard
GOTS products are environmentally friendly

5.2. GOTS and OEKO-TEX which standard is better?

If The Global Organic Textile Standard is the global standard for organic textiles, the OEKO-TEX standard covers both organic and non-organic textiles, both of these standards are internationally accepted. A product that wants to get GOTS or OEKO-TEX certification, has to go through many testing steps. If you are sensitive to chemicals, a GOTS-certified product is better for you. As these products are made from ingredients grown without chemical fertilizers or pesticides.

global organic textiles standard
GOTS standard suitable for sensitive skin

5.3. What is the Organic Content Standard?

The Organic Content Standard of Textile Exchange (OCS) is a standard that monitors the organic status of textiles. Through verification of the content of organically grown materials in a finished product for the business. An OCS-compliant product must contain a minimum of 5 percent organic fiber. Unlike the Global Organic Textiles Standard, the OCS standards do not examine the textile supply chain.

what is global organic textile standard
Whether the product meets the OCS standard depends on the percentage of organic in it

5.4. How do I obtain global organic textiles standard certification?

All textile processors, manufacturers, and traders can contact an approved Global Organic Textiles Standard agency for certification in their home country or neighboring country. Auditors and inspectors from certification bodies will review whether you meet the GOTS criteria. If you are approved, the authorities will proceed to issue the GOTS Certificate.

global organic textiles standard
How to get Global GOTS Certification

The harmful effects of some chemicals tend to increase in today’s world. So the demand for Global Organic Textiles Standard for organic fibers in particular and garments, in general, is very necessary. Hope the article can help you have more useful knowledge about this standard. Please contact Dugarco if you have any questions that need answers!

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