The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) has issued a response to what it calls a misleading claim by a company stating they hold a certification that’s “more important than organic.” The company also claims, “Textiles with the organic label can still be treated with toxic chemicals at a later stage of production.” While this is possible for uncertified products made from organic fibers, this is a misleading statement for textiles certified and labeled to the GOTS.
GOTS protects workers and environment at every stage of production and the GOTS approved “Positive List” was developed to assure GOTS certified wet processors only use chemical inputs with the lowest possible toxicity effects available. GOTS certified products all begin on an organic farm. For any agricultural product to be sold as “organic” in the U.S., no matter where in the world the crop is grown, the raw fiber must have been certified to the USDA’s National Organic Program’s (NOP) Crop Standard. This includes cotton, flax, hemp and others.
Sheep’s wool and other animal fibers must have been raised to the USDA’s NOP Livestock standard. Organic production systems maintain soil fertility and expand biological diversity through crop rotation, they also prohibit the use of synthetic toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers, as well as genetically engineered seed. Third-party certifiers verify that organic producers meet strict federal regulations addressing methods and materials allowed in organic production.
Some textile standards are not related to organic or natural products in particular and include petroleum based, synthetic fibers. Those products never decompose and are the cause of plastic fiber particles in the waste stream polluting rivers and oceans. A textile product carrying the GOTS label grade “organic” must contain a minimum of 95 percent certified organic fibers, a product with the label grade “made with organic” must contain a minimum of 70 percent certified organic fibers.
GOTS is backed up by independent certification of the entire textile supply chain, from harvesting of the raw materials, through environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing up to labeling, in order to provide a credible assurance to the end consumer.
GOTS is the voluntary global standard for the entire post-harvest processing (including spinning, knitting, weaving, dyeing and manufacturing) of apparel and home textiles made with certified organic fiber (such as organic cotton and organic wool), and includes both environmental and social criteria. It is a self-financed, non-profit organization.