As you may have seen, many of our products are GOTS certified. But what does that actually mean?
What does «GOTS» mean?
All of the following information is from Global Standard (2020).
GOTS is the abbreviation for “Global Organic Textile Standard”. In the field of processing organically produced natural fibers, “GOTS” is currently the best standard worldwide. Environmental and social criteria are defined and checked at a high level along the entire supply chain.
Textile processors, clothing and trading companies can apply for this certification. It not only affects the manufacture of the clothes, but begins with the first processing steps of the raw materials. The entire retail chain is inspected on site every year.
What are the criteria for a GOTS certificate?
The fiber production for fabric manufacture must meet the following criteria, among others.
- Organic standard of the raw material (e.g. cotton) according to recognized regulations
- Products labeled “organic” or “kbA / kbT” must contain at least 95% controlled organic fibers. The label “made from x% fibers” requires at least 70% organic fibers.
In order to protect the environment during production, the following criteria apply (among others):
- Organically produced fibers must be separated from non-biological fibers at all times
- All chemical substances (e.g. for coloring) must meet certain basic requirements
- Toxic heavy metals, chlorine bleach, certain dyes and other environmentally harmful substances and processes are prohibited
- Every company must be able to demonstrate targets and measures for the constant minimization of wastewater and waste.
- Wet processing companies (e.g. dyeing companies) must provide all data on the chemicals used and waste water treatment after use.
- Packaging with PVC (plastic) is not tolerated. The packaging materials (hang tags, etc.) must have an FSC or PEFC certificate or be recycled.
In order to be able to guarantee fair working conditions, the following criteria of the International Labor Organization (ILO) must be met:
- Free choice of employment, no forced labor
- The working conditions are safe and hygienic
- Prohibition of child labor
- Minimum wage and wage protection
- No excessive working hours
- No discrimination: including equal pay
- Prohibition of rough treatment
But how is that checked?
Here is an insight into the GOTS inspection protocol (GOTS, 2020):
- Insight into the bookkeeping: Is the flow of goods balanced? Do all incoming and outgoing goods match?
- Review of the processing and storage system
- Are certified and non-certified goods consistently separated? Where are the risks?
- Testing of textile dyes, auxiliary materials and finishing according to the GOTS criteria
- Review of the wastewater treatment plant (e.g. important after the dyeing process)
- Review of social criteria: discussions with management, confidential discussions with workers, personnel files, consultations with trade unions)
- Review of the internal test procedure for impermissible substances including sampling
We hope this information about the GOTS certificate helps you. It is important that we keep ourselves informed about the background of the fashion industry and form our own opinion. So we can make responsible purchasing decisions and finally enjoy fashion!