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Talking Point | September 2014

GOTS, an ideal tool for sustainable textiles

Increasingly, companies are making apparel, home textiles, and fibre-based products such as mattresses that include organic cotton, organic wool, or other organic fibre. The bottom line is that finished or processed textile products that imply or lead the consumer to believe that the final product is certified organic must meet either the USDA organic regulations or the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).

GOTS is the worldwide leading textile processing standard for organic fibres, including ecological and social criteria, backed up by independent certification of the entire textile supply chain. GOTS certification ensures organic status of textiles, from harvesting of the raw materials, through environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing up to packing & labelling in order to provide a credible assurance to the end consumer. So the final product is made from organic fibres and processed in an eco-friendly manner using low impact dyes & chemicals. Even stringent waste water norms (environment criteria) and social criteria are followed throughout the production process.

In India, more than 1,000 facilities are GOTS certified. In an exclusive tOte-a-tOte with Editor of the Indian Textile Journal, Sumit Gupta, Indian Representative, GOTS, shares the importance of GOTS certification and how it is different from other certifications.

ITJ Editor: Please let us know more about Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and how it all started in India?
Sumit Gupta (SG): In 2002, people from four leading organisations in organic food/ textiles met and discussed that there should a uniform worldwide organic textile standard. These organisations were (IVN), Germany, Soil Association, UK, OTA, USA and JOCA, Japan. There were some standards in organic food and a few in organic textiles as well, but the consolidated global approach was missing. At the meet, the need for a united global approach with regards to organic textile standard was recognized and an international working group was formed. After that, consultations were held till 2005 with various stakeholders.

Finally in 2005, GOTS version 1.0 was released. In India, the first GOTS certificate was issued in October 2006. Maral Overseas Ltd, one of the largest vertically integrated textile companies in India, was one of the three companies that received the first GOTS certification in India. Today, GOTS is the worldwide leading textile processing standard for organic fibres, including ecological and social criteria, backed up by independent certification of the entire textile supply chain.

ITJ Editor: What is the modus operandi behind giving this certificate?
SG: GOTS is the standard organisation. We have an International Working Group and Technical Committee functioning with multiple stakeholders across the globe. Our job is to define the standard. On March 1, 2014, GOTS version 4.0 was released and is currently into effect. Along with GOTS version 4.0, we also released a new document, GOTS manual, which is a kind of interpretation of GOTS. The manual is for the industry as well as auditors to help them understand the implementation part. The second aspect of this modus operandi is the independent Certification Body. There are 17 certification bodies in the world, accredited by GOTS, to issue GOTS certificate and chemical approval letters on behalf of GOTS. Out of 17, eight certification bodies are having local offices in India. A manufacturer or producer can go to any certification body for the certification. GOTSùas a standard organisationùis perfectly neutral.

The third aspect is the manufacturer or the licensee. For example, if a garment manufacturer needs a GOTS certificate, the first step is to choose a c

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