What is GOTS?
GOTS stands for Global Organic Textile Standard and is the world’s leading processing standard for textiles made from organic fibres, such as cotton. Their vision is for organic textiles to become a significant part of everyday life, enhancing people’s lives and the environment – what a great vision to have!
GOTS covers the processing, manufacturing, packaging, labelling, trading and distribution of textiles. Only products that contain a minimum of 70% organic fibres can become GOTS certified.
So what environmental and social criteria does GOTS look at?
- All chemical inputs (e.g. dyes and process chemicals) must be evaluated and meet basic requirements on toxicity and biodegradability
- Bleaches must be based on oxygen (no chlorine bleaching)
- Packaging material must not contain PVC
- Raw materials, intermediates and final textile products must meet stringent waste limits
- Working conditions must be safe and hygienic – sounds very basic but is important!
- No discrimination in the workplace
- Working hours are not excessive and pay rates must be fair
GOTS was introduced in 2006 at a time where there were many different standards in the niche market of organic textiles. This was confusing for producers, retailers and customers who were interested in this field. Since its introduction, GOTS has gained universal recognition and has become a leading standard for the processing of textile goods using organic fibres.
GOTS is now comprised of four member organisations, namely OTA (USA), IVN (Germany), Soil Association (UK) and JOCA (Japan) which contribute to GOTS, together with international stakeholder organisations and experts.
The latest version 5.0 of GOTS was released on 1 March 2017, replacing Version 4.0. All GOTS companies are required to fully comply with Version 5.0 by 1 March 2018.
Examples of brands
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All images by Unsplash.