History of the Gots
In 2002, representatives of organic cotton producers, textile industry, consumers, standards and certification bodies attended the 2002 Intercot Conference in Düsseldorf, Germany. During the event, they expressed the need to have internationally homogeneous legislation relating to organic textiles.
At the time, the organic fabric market was still a niche and the numerous certification standards made international trade and their recognition difficult.
Therefore, since 2002 organizations and experts had been working to harmonize the legislation, and in 2006 the Global Organic Textile Standard was established. It rapidly became the leading standard for processing organic textiles.
Then, in 2008, under the pressing demand of retailers, an official label was created and nowadays textile manufacturers can apply it to their products to demonstrate their compliance with the GOTS.
Objectives of the Gots
The Global Organic Textile Standard serves to ensure responsible and sustainable development in the textile sector. In fact, the textile industry requires a massive use of water, natural resources, pesticides, insecticides and other chemicals. In addition, it produces pollution of water, air and land, a large amount of waste and is often based on unfair labor policies.
However, this kind of production is no longer sustainable, nor even ethical. That’s why the Global Organic Textile Standard imposes different regulations to the whole supply chain of textile and fashion companies.
These regulations mainly concern the environmental impact, working conditions and the use of biological resources.
Companies that join the GOTS must meet the following criteria.
Gots environmental criteria
- they cannot use toxic heavy metals, formaldehyde, aromatic solvents, functional nano-particles, OMG, chlorine-based whiteners, azo dyes
- must separate organic materials from conventional fibers throughout the production process
- must adopt an environmental protection policy and procedures that reduce consumption and discharges to a minimum
- they must engage in water treatment by equipping themselves with purification plants
Gots health criteria
Their raw materials, semi-finished and final textile products cannot contain toxic or harmful substances.
Gots social criteria
- they must comply with the fundamental standards of the International Labor Organization
- must ensure safe and hygienic working conditions
- refuse child labor
- guarantee workers adequate wages, regular contracts and decent living conditions
- do not impose excessive working hours
- undertake to eliminate discrimination and abuse
Although GOTS implies strict constraints, it does not conflict with mass and series production.
Furthermore, it is not a once-and-for-all standard. On the contrary, it is constantly evolving according to technological and market developments. In any case, the goal is always the same: to aim for a sustainable and ethical textile industry.