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GOTS 5.0: Stricter criteria, more opportunities

EcoNote | March 16, 2017 | By:

The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) has announced its latest standard: Version 5.0. In the new standard, the criteria for “additional fiber material” are now stricter regarding environmentally improved and certified regenerated cellulosic fibers. Also, the use of viscose and modal is now restricted to 10 percent (25 percent for sportswear and socks).

GOTS defines high-level environmental criteria along the organic textiles supply chain and requires compliance with social criteria. It is a worldwide standard for the processing of textiles made with 95 percent (label grade “organic”) or at least 70 percent (label grade “made with organic”) certified organic fibers.

For the first time, GOTS will allow “combined products,” such as prams with textile fabrics, bassinets, car seats, or furniture with textile fabric upholstery, to have certified and labeled fabric components.

Also new is an explicit section on ethical business behavior, including a corruption ban based on the United Nations Global Compact Principles. Also, the GOTS Social Compliance Management System for the first time includes guidance on the use of tools, such as SAI Social Fingerprint, to help companies measure and improve their social performance.

“Revision of GOTS always walks a fine line between strict and verifiable criteria and the needs of the market. For example, version 5.0 includes the tightening of composition requirements with respect to regenerated cellulosic fibers. On the other hand, the new possibility of combined products with fabric components certified to GOTS helps include a range of products [that] could not carry the GOTS label in the past. This helps to increase our contribution to sustainable development,” said Rahul Bhajekar, GOTS director of Standards Development and Quality Assurance.

Revising GOTS is a year-long process that takes place every three years. GOTS relies on input from relevant international stakeholders with expertise in the fields of organic production; textile colorants and chemicals; social criteria and industry; and NGOs and consumer interests. Invited organizations included Greenpeace, Clean Clothes Campaign, Fair Labor Association, Fair Wear Foundation, International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements, International Labour Organization, Transparency International, Social Accountability International and Textile Exchange.

GOTS was formed as an international working group to define globally recognized requirements that ensure the organic status of textiles. GOTS Version 5.0, the Manual for Implementation Version 5.0, a list of relevant changes and further information can be found at

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