Version 5.0 of the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) has been released. GOTS is the worldwide recognised standard for the processing of textiles made with 95 per cent (label grade “organic”) or at least 70 per cent (label grade “made with organic”) certified organic fibres.
GOTS’ core provisions such as the minimum content of certified organic fibers and the general bans on the use of toxic and harmful chemicals, conventional cotton, virgin polyester, GMOs, substances derived from GMOs and nanotechnology have been maintained.
The criteria for the additional fibre material are now stricter regarding the environmentally improved and certified regenerated cellulosic fibres. The use of viscose and modal is now restricted to 10 per cent (25 per cent for sportswear and socks). Lyocell may still be used up to 30 per cent because of its more sustainable manufacturing processes.
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 labelled fabric components.
Regarding the GOTS social criteria, an explicit section on ethical business behaviour, including a corruption ban was added, based on the UN Global Compact Principles. The mandatory 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 fibres. 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,” says Rahul Bhajekar, GOTS Director Standards Development and Quality Assurance.
GOTS 5.0 is the result of a year-long revision process with multi stakeholder input which is repeated every three years. All relevant stakeholders who operate internationally with expertise in the fields of organic production, textile colourants and chemicals, social criteria and industry, NGOs and consumer interests were invited to participate. Invited organisations included Greenpeace, Clean Clothes Campaign, Fair Labour Association, FairWear Foundation, IFOAM, ILO, Transparency International, Social Accountability International (SAI) and Textile Exchange. The list of all stakeholders and more about the revision process can be found on GOTS website (www.global-standard.org/the-standard/revision-procedure.html).
GOTS was developed by leading international standard setters – Organic Trade Association (U.S.), Japan Organic Cotton Association, International Association Natural Textile Industry (Germany), and Soil Association (UK), which formed an International Working Group to define globally recognised requirements that ensure organic status of textiles. GOTS’ operating unit, the Global-Standard gemeinnützige GmbH, is a non-profit organisation.