GOTS Certificate: The Sustainable Textile Industry of the Future

According to numerous studies, the textile sector is one of the most polluting on the planet. The conventional textile industry consumes enormous quantities of water and chemical products that end up being dumped directly into rivers, lakes and oceans.

The dyes and synthetic dyes used by this type of industry are composed of highly toxic chemicals and are difficult to biodegrade. In addition, some of these substances are very harmful to living beings, as they can cause many diseases, including cancer.

That is why, in Renaturis we wanted to be consistent and sustainable when it comes to making our eco-packaging, so we only work with 100% organic cotton fabrics certified by the GOTS standard. In this way we make sure to reduce these harmful practices and promote a cleaner, healthier and more balanced natural environment.

GOTS CERTIFIED

The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is recognised as the world’s leading processing standard for textiles made from organic fibres. It defines high-level environmental criteria along the entire organic textiles supply chain and requires compliance with social criteria as well.

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.

The use of organic farming fibers, the exclusion of harmful or toxic substances for the environment and the introduction of a minimum wage are only a small extract of the mandatory criteria of the GOTS certification. To ensure compliance with these standards, all companies in the value chain must undergo an annual on-site inspection, carried out by independent testing institutes that are also GOTS certified. In particularly suspicious cases, inspections are carried out without prior notice and, if the criteria are not met, the company automatically loses its certification

The standard covers the processing, manufacturing, packaging, labelling, trading and distribution of all textiles made from at least 70% certified organic natural fibres. The final products may include, but are not limited to fibre products, yarns, fabrics, clothes and home textiles. The standard does not set criteria for leather products.

The key criteria for fibre production can be identified as:

Organic fiber production is not directly covered by the GOTS certification system as GOTS does not set standards for organic fiber cultivation itself. Fiber producers (farmers) must be certified according to a recognized international or national organic farming standard that is accepted in the country where the final product will be sold.

Organic production is based on a system of farming that maintains and replenishes soil fertility without the use of toxic, persistent pesticides and fertilizers. In addition, organic production relies on adequate animal husbandry and excludes genetic modification.

Key criteria for processing and manufacturing include:

Environmental Criteria

  • At all stages through the processing organic fibre products must be separated from conventional fibre products
  • All chemical inputs (e.g. dyes) must be evaluated and meeting basic requirements on toxicity and biodegradability/eliminability
  • Prohibition of critical inputs such as toxic heavy metals, genetically modified organisms (GMO) and their enzymes
  • 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
  • Packaging material must not contain PVC. Paper or cardboard used in packaging material must be recycled or certified according to FSC or PEFC
  • Technical quality parameters must be met (s.a. rubbing, perspiration, light and washing fastness, etc)
  • Raw materials, intermediates, final textile products as well as accessories must meet stringent limits regarding unwanted residues
Social Criteria

Social criteria based on the key norms of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) must be met by all processors and manufacturers. They must have a social compliance management with defined elements in place to ensure that the social criteria can be met.

Some social criteria topics:

  • Employment is freely chosen
  • Working conditions are safe and hygienic
  • Child labour must not be used
  • Living wages
  • No discrimination is practised
  • Harsh or inhumane treatment is prohibited

Label-Grades

The Standard provides for a subdivision into two label-grades:

   
“Label-grade 1: organic”: minimum 95% certified organic fibres, maximum 5% non-organic natural or synthetic fibres.

 

“Label-grade 2: made with X% organic”: minimum 70% certified organic fibres, maximum 30% non organic fibres, but a maximum of 10% synthetic fibres (respective 25% for socks, leggings and sportswear).

The only differentiation for subdivision is the minimum percentage of ‘organic’ material in the final product.

Blending conventional and organic fibres of the same type in the same product is not permitted.

 

 

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