Updated: Apr 20, 2022
The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is the worldwide leading textile processing standard for organic fibers, including ecological and social criteria, backed up by independent certification of the entire textile supply chain.
The aim of the standard is to define world-wide recognized requirements that ensure organic status of textiles, from harvesting of the raw materials, through environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing up to labelling in order to provide a credible assurance to the end consumer.
Textile processors and manufacturers are enabled to export their organic fabrics and garments with one certification accepted in all major markets. Approved are natural fibers that are certified organic and fibers from conversion period certified according to recognized international or national standards and certified by any IFOAM accredited or internationally recognized (according to ISO 65) certifier.
Key criteria for processing and manufacturing include:
- At all stages through the processing organic fiber products must be separated from conventional fiber products and must to be clearly identified
- All chemical inputs (e.g. dyes, auxiliaries and process chemicals) must be evaluated and meeting basic requirements on toxicity and biodegradability/eliminability
- Prohibition of critical inputs such as toxic heavy metals, formaldehyde, aromatic solvents, functional nano particles, genetically modified organisms (GMO) and their enzymes
- The use of synthetic sizing agents is restricted; knitting and weaving oils must not contain heavy metals
- Bleaches must be based on oxygen (no chlorine bleaching)
- Azo dyes that release carcinogenic amine compounds are prohibited
- Discharge printing methods using aromatic solvents and plastisol printing methods using phthalates and PVC are prohibited
- Restrictions for accessories (e.g. no PVC, nickel or chrome permitted)
- All operators must have an environmental policy including target goals and procedures to minimize waste and discharges
- Wet processing units must keep full records of the use of chemicals, energy, water consumption and waste water treatment, including the disposal of sludge. The waste water from all wet processing units must be treated in a functional waste water treatment plant.
- Packaging material must not contain PVC. Paper or cardboard used in packaging material, hang tags, swing tags etc. must be recycled or certified according to FSC or PEFC
Technical Quality and Human Toxicity Criteria
- Technical quality parameters must be met (s.a. rubbing, perspiration, light and washing fastness and shrinkage values)
- Raw materials, intermediates, final textile products as well as accessories must meet stringent limits regarding unwanted residues
Minimum Social Criteria
Minimum social criteria based on the key norms of the International Labor Organization (ILO) must be met by all processors and manufacturers, including at farm level. They must have a social compliance management with defined elements in place to ensure that the social criteria can be met. For adequate implementation and assessment of the following social criteria topics the listed applicable key conventions of the International Labor Organization (ILO) have to be taken as the relevant basis for interpretation.
- Employment is freely chosen
- There is no forced or bonded labor
- Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining are respected
- Working conditions are safe and hygienic
- Child labor must not be used
- Living wages
- Working hours are not excessive
- No discrimination is practized
- Regular employment is provided
- Harsh or inhumane treatment is prohibited
Quality Assurance System
Generally a company participating in the GOTS certification scheme must work in compliance with all criteria of the standard. GOTS relies on a dual system to check compliance with the relevant criteria consisting of on-site auditing and residue testing.