The Global Organic Textile Standard (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.
Version 5.0 was published on 1st of March 2017, 3 years after the Version 4.0 was introduced and 12 years after the launch of the 1st Version. The high ecological and social requirements as well as worldwide practicability and verifiability were considered in the revision work, in order to achieve a reliable and transparent set of criteria.
The information in this section provides an overview of the content and basic requirements of the standard. It does not reflect all criteria of the standard and can therefore not be used for any official purpose.
The aim of the standard is to define world-wide recognized requirements that ensure organic status of textiles, from harvesting of the raw materials, through environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing up to labelling in order to provide a credible assurance to the end consumer.
Textile processors and manufacturers are enabled to export their organic fabrics and garments with one certification accepted in all major markets.
The consensus of the Founding Organizations was that a clear and unambiguous understanding of the content required that the Global Standard itself focuses on compulsory criteria only. The standard covers the processing, manufacturing, packaging, labelling, trading and distribution of all textiles made from at least 70% certified organic natural fibres. The final products may include, but are not limited to fibre products, yarns, fabrics, clothes and home textiles. The standard does not set criteria for leather products.
The key criteria for fibre production can be identified as:
- Organic certification of fibres on basis of recognised international or national standards (IFOAM family of standards, EEC 834/2007, USDA NOP)
- Certification of fibres from conversion period is possible if the applicable farming standard permits such certification
- A textile product carrying the GOTS label grade ‘organic’ must contain a minimum of 95% certified organic fibres whereas a product with the label grade ‘made with organic’ must contain a minimum of 70% certified organic fibres
Processing and Manufacturing
Key criteria for processing and manufacturing include:
- At all stages through the processing organic fibre products must be separated from conventional fibre products and must to be clearly identified
- All chemical inputs (e.g. dyes, auxiliaries and process chemicals) must be evaluated and meeting basic requirements on toxicity and biodegradability/eliminability
- Prohibition of critical inputs such as toxic heavy metals, formaldehyde, aromatic solvents, functional nano particles, genetically modified organisms (GMO) and their enzymes
- The use of synthetic sizing agents is restricted; knitting and weaving oils must not contain heavy metals
- Bleaches must be based on oxygen (no chlorine bleaching)
- Azo dyes that release carcinogenic amine compounds are prohibited
- Discharge printing methods using aromatic solvents and plastisol printing methods using phthalates and PVC are prohibited
- Restrictions for accessories (e.g. no PVC, nickel or chrome permitted)
- All operators must have an environmental policy including target goals and procedures to minimise waste and discharges
- Wet processing units must keep full records of the use of chemicals, energy, water consumption and waste water treatment, including the disposal of sludge. The waste water from all wet processing units must be treated in a functional waste water treatment plant.
- Packaging material must not contain PVC. Paper or cardboard used in packaging material, hang tags, swing tags etc. must be recycled or certified according to FSC or PEFC
Technical Quality and Human Toxicity Criteria
- Technical quality parameters must be met (s.a. rubbing, perspiration, light and washing fastness and shrinkage values)
- Raw materials, intermediates, final textile products as well as accessories must meet stringent limits regarding unwanted residues
Last Updated: Monday, 06 May 2019 16:21
The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is recognised as the world's leading processing standard for textiles made from organic fibres. It defines high-level environmental criteria along the entire organic textiles supply chain and requires compliance with social criteria as well.
Last Updated: Monday, 17 December 2018 12:27
Consumption of water and energy are most important aspects in sustainability considerations for textile processors and manufacturers. As part of the environmental management criteria (chapter 2.4.10) GOTS requires that - among other information - certified entities must have available and provide:
- data on energy and water resources and their consumption per kg of textile output
- target goals and procedures to reduce energy and water consumption per kg of textile output
GOTS Monitor (Water/Energy) aims at supporting certified entities to approach and comply with these requirements.
The main functions of GOTS Monitor (Water/Energy) are to:
- allow an easy data collection on energy and water consumption (per kg of textile output)
- provide realistic factory-specific benchmark values for these parameters (specifically for wet processing activities)
The user will be supported in setting and monitoring realistic improvement targets regarding the progress in the reduction of his water and energy consumption. Effects will be visible in both environmental terms to fulfil the GOTS Standard requirements and in monetary terms for the business case of sustainability.