The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is one of the leading processing standards set for organic textiles worldwide. GOTS goes well beyond the scope of basic organic textile certification offered by the USDA. GOTS requires that textile manufacturers follow specific environmental criteria and compliance with social criteria as well.
GOTS does not cover actual organic fiber production, for example how organic cotton or organic wool is grown. For certification that regulates growing standards, a producer would go through the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) or EEC Organic Regulation. Once a producer's organic fibers are certified to NOP standards or EEC Organic Regulation, they can be accepted as raw material inputs for the GOTS processing and manufacturing chains. In general, textile processing, manufacturing and trading entities are eligible to apply for GOTS certification.
GOTS certification starts after production, with the first textile processing steps in the supply chain. For example, in organic cotton manufacturing, the ginning is considered the first processing step. Other organic textiles may have other first processing steps.
For those familiar with organic certification, GOTS will make sense, as GOTS' quality assurance system is based on various like-minded issues, such as on-site inspection, paperwork covering processing procedures, and certification of the textile processing and trade chain.
Once a business has completed GOTS certification, they acquire a licence which entitles said business the rights to participate in the GOTS program. This includes the use of all GOTS standards and the GOTS logo.
Parties interested in obtaining GOTS certification may contact an approved GOTS certification agency.
An organic clothing manufacturer who wants consumers to know their clothes are organic, eco-friendly and socially just, may consider applying for GOTS certification.