GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certification is a worldwide leading standard concerning soft goods. It focuses on individual stages of the entire production chain of products made of natural fabrics. Its main purpose is to promote producing goods in accordance with respect for the natural environment, defining the criteria for its protection. We present details related to GOTS certification and answer the question of why it is worth obtaining such a marking.
One can apply for the GOTS marking on all textile products. We can find it on products such as for example fiber, knitted fabrics, home textiles, clothes, and others of this type. You should keep in mind that the GOTS certification does not apply to leather goods.
What criteria does the GOTS cover?
Goods with the GOTS label meet the requirements ensuring that their production process is friendly to the environment and all the employees. To obtain such a certificate, every stage of the production has to undergo special control according to certain criteria.
The most important examined criteria in order to obtain GOTS are:
1. Raw materials used for the production
Raw materials used during the production of textiles must not contain any substances that may adversely affect human health. Using toxic substances such as heavy metals, formaldehyde, fragrant solvents, functional nano-particles, as well as GMOs (genetically modified organisms and their enzymes are prohibited.
The GOTS marking is divided into two categories in terms of the raw materials used in the production:
Products belonging to this category are 95% made of certified ecological fibers.
- Made with x% organic
This category includes products 70% made of certified ecological fibers. The allowed usage of synthetic fibers is 10%. The case is different when it comes to products such as socks, leggings, and sportswear, in which up to 25% of synthetic fibers are used.
2. Environment-friendly production
Production following respect for the natural environment is one of the most important aspects of the GOTS certificate. According to this criterium, goods should be produced with the least possible use of chemical substances, with an appropriate degree of non-toxicity and biodegradability. In addition to the substances mentioned in the first point, the use of chromium, nickel, allergens, copper, and bleaches containing chlorides and bromides are also prohibited.
In this regard, it is also important to comply with national and local legal requirements for wastewater treatment. Wastewater from manufacturing plants must be treated in an internal or external wastewater treatment plant before discharge into surface waters. They also must be reviewed periodically. Proper water management mainly applies to fabrics such as linen or cotton, as they are made using water.
3. Work standards
GOTS certificate confirms the production in accordance with respect for the rights of the employees. It includes minimum social standards based on the conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO). The criteria that must be met by a company owning the GOTS label are:
- prohibition of child labor
- prohibition of discrimination in employment, remuneration, access to training, promotion, termination, or retirement (e.g. due to race, caste, nationality, religion, age, disability, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, trade union, or political affiliation)
- no harsh or inhumane treatment of employees
- the right of workers to associate as they choose
- providing workers with a safe and hygienic work environment
- conducting health and safety training for all employees
- meeting at least the national minimum wage standards
- working hours in accordance with national and model industry standards
- regular payment for all employees
4. Storage, packaging and transport
Textile products must be stored and transported in such a way that they will not be contaminated with prohibited substances. The packaging material must not contain PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and must either be recycled later or certified according to FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) or PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification). In order for a product to obtain the GOTS marking, it must be tested for residues of a prohibited substance under the supervision of an approved certifier.
How to obtain a GOTS certification?
The GOTS certification process consists of many control activities aimed at verifying compliance with all mandatory requirements. Its complexity makes the total process time last about 8-10 weeks. The certification process includes the following steps:
- Contacting the certification body and filling in the application form.
- Receiving the certification contract that we are obliged to sign.
- Preparation for control at all stages of production.
- Thorough revision in terms of applicable standards.
- Preparation of a report and possible closing of any non-conformities.
- Issue of a certificate
One should remember that the validity period of the GOTS certificate is one year. In order to renew it, the company must undergo an audit at least once a year to confirm that all the requirements are still met. The GOTS organization charges a license fee of EUR 150 per year for each certified facility. Besides, you must also pay for the certification body, but the amount will vary depending on the company’s location and the scope of certification.
Why is it worth obtaining the GOTS certification?
The GOTS certificate is recognized not only by leading textile organizations all around the world but also by ecological and organic organizations. The GOTS label on a product definitely increases its prestige. It proves environmentally friendly production, eliminating the usage of toxic substances and paying attention to proper water management. It ensures that the work is in accordance with the rights of all employees. Therefore, it increases the credibility of the company, which makes it more attractive to both customers and investors.