If you pay attention to buying organic clothes, we're sure you've heard of GOTS. You may be familiar with its logo or know what it stands for, but if you haven't had a chance to learn more about GOTS yet, we recommend that you continue reading. Here, we have compiled everything you need to know about GOTS as a GOTS-certified organic baby & kids clothing brand.
GOTS, which stands for Global Organic Textile Standard, are standards created to specify the organic status of textile products from the harvest of raw materials to labeling. These standards have been developed to assure the consumer that textile products are produced in environmentally friendly and fair conditions. GOTS certification is one of the most recognized organic standards in the world. Especially in the global textile industry, certification standards are important to ensure that garments are produced with sustainable processes. Certificates and quality marks prove that textiles are produced under environmentally friendly and socially responsible working conditions. In this context, GOTS shows that the textile brand follows human, animal, and planet-friendly methods in the processes of resource use, production, and distribution.
GOTS was established by four recognized organizations: Organic Trade Association (OTA, USA), Internationaler Verband der Naturtextilwirtschaft (IVN, Germany), The Soil Association (UK), and Japan Organic Cotton Association (JOCA, Japan). Two of these (IVN and JOCA) are textile industry organizations, while the other two (OTA and Soil Association) are organic agriculture and food organizations. These organizations have extensive experience in organic promotion and together they have developed processing standards for organic textiles, and GOTS emerged from the desire for international recognition of these standards.
Since its launch in 2006, GOTS has proven its practical applicability. The GOTS label has strict guidelines and certification processes. To be GOTS certified, the entire processing, and production chain (from post-harvest processing to sewing, packaging, and labeling) and B2B merchants (traders selling to other businesses such as importers, exporters, or wholesalers) must adhere to these strict processes. Any raw material producer, processor, textile manufacturer, distributor, importer, brand, or any player in the textile industry can obtain the GOTS certificate.
GOTS was created for ecologically and socially responsible textile production and stipulates various requirements to ensure this. GOTS has different classifications. The label class “made with organic” indicates that the fabric contains a minimum of 70% organic fiber. The “organic” label class indicates that the fabric contains a minimum of 95% organic fiber. The basic requirements that must be applied at the production stage to obtain the GOTS certificate are based on the following objects:
- Availability of a wastewater treatment system as part of an environmental management program.
- Compliance with GOTS social criteria based on the basic norms of the International Labor Organization (ILO).
- Implementation of a written environmental policy.
- Maintaining complete and comprehensive records on wastewater treatment, including wet processing units, chemicals, energy, water consumption, and sludge disposal.
- Treatment of wastewater from all wet processing units in an external functional wastewater treatment plant.
All chemical inputs (such as dyes, auxiliaries, and process chemicals) are evaluated in GOTS-certified products; these inputs must meet basic requirements for toxicity. The use of toxic heavy metals, formaldehyde, aromatic solvents, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is prohibited. There are also restrictions on the use of accessories. Raw materials, intermediates, final textiles, and accessories must meet strict restrictions on unwanted residues. Packaging material should not contain PVC. Within the scope of certification, an independent and private certification body conducts an annual on-site inspection of the processor, manufacturer, or trader's facilities, the organic fiber product flow is monitored, all inputs and accessories used are evaluated, and social policies are observed.
GOTS is a dynamic standard, encouraging continuous progress toward the development of better textile processing methods. The GOTS organization makes regular standard updates, drawing on advice from international stakeholder organizations and experts. Every three years, a revision process takes place in which GOTS collaborates with international stakeholders. The first version of GOTS was released in 2005, and the last version of GOTS, GOTS version 6.0, was released in 2020. Although GOTS criteria are developed in each version, in general, GOTS-certified products guarantee the following things:
One of the main purposes of the certificate is to make sure that all phases of the production process are sustainable, from harvesting the cotton to producing the clothes. Because of this reason, all raw materials must be harvested from sustainable farms. In addition, this certification focuses on water management. A company applying for GOTS certification must have a closed water circuit and water filtration plant.
Eco-Friendly and Non-Toxic Fabrics
Products eligible for certification must be free of toxic heavy metals, formaldehyde, aromatic solvents, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). All additives must be biodegradable and GOTS compliant. A company applying for GOTS certification must have an environmental protection policy. The GOTS seal ensures that the garment is environmentally friendly and does not pose a threat to human health. All materials are subject to strict controls to ensure that no unwanted residue is left on GOTS-certified garments.
Fair Working Conditions
GOTS certification is not only concerned with sustainable, environmentally friendly production but also observes fair working conditions for employees. This certificate guarantees that the products are produced in fair, free, hygienic, safe, and non-discriminatory conditions, without the use of child labor, in compliance with legal working hours, and for a wage that allows a decent life.
So how do you know if a product is GOTS certified? To understand this, you have to look for the labeling on the product. GOTS labeling should be applied to the product in such a way that the consumer can recognize it at the time of purchase (e.g. on the packaging and/or label). Accurate and complete GOTS labeling includes the trademark registered GOTS logo (or the inscription “Global Organic Textile Standard”), GOTS label classification (“organic” or “made with organic”), certification body details and license number, and/or certified body name. Labeling may indicate the license number of the final product and/or the name of the supplier (merchant, manufacturer) as the retailers themselves are not required to be certified. Consumers can search for the certified organization in the GOTS-certified supplier database by entering the license number (or name) given on the GOTS label in the free text field.
From now on, when you see the GOTS logo on a garment, you'll know it was produced in a sustainable, non-toxic way and with respect for the people involved. So, you can dress your little one with Walkiddy products with peace of mind.