FAQs about fibers and textiles
#Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)
The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is a comprehensive certification service for any step throughout the textile supply chain.
A product can only carry a GOTS label if all steps in its supply chain are inspected and approved. This includes the organic certification of the raw materials. GOTS identifies the organic content in a final product in five different ways:
1. “Organic” is considered equal to or greater than 95 percent organic materials, with the additional five percent of materials meeting all GOTS requirements
2. “Made with ___ percent organic materials” is considered equal to or greater than 70 percent organic materials, with up to 30 percent of added materials meeting all GOTS requirements
3. “Organic in conversion” is considered equal to or greater than 95 percent of transitional materials used as defined by GOTS requirements
4. “Made with ___ percent organic in conversion” is considered equal to or greater than 70 percent transitional materials, with up to 30 percent of added materials meeting all GOTS requirements
5. “Converted materials label” covers all products that contain a component — the material can be labeled, not the whole product — of GOTS-certified organic material (e.g., furniture, stroller, etc.)
Who needs GOTS certification
All the steps in the supply chain — for a GOTS-certified end product — must be certified (e.g., ginning, wool scouring, cut and sew operations, mattress manufacturers, etc.). Additionally, anyone who trades in GOTS goods over 5,000 Euro a year, as well as repackages or relabels products, must be certified.
Retailers are not required to be certified but can apply.
Some examples of GOTS-certified operations: cotton gin, garnetter, spinner, knitter, weaver, wool carder, dyehouse, wet processing facilities, importer/trader, and distribution warehouses where garments are folded, bagged, and labeled.
#Preparing for and understanding inspection
Annual inspections are mandatory for all GOTS-certified operations. Possible exceptions may apply for an annual physical inspection if you are an importer/trader or a small subcontractor.
A lot of planning, organizing, and documentation is required for an inspector to review your GOTS-certified product or process/action. Your inspection process is made up of several elements:
- Review of records and documentation
- Assessment of processing and storage systems via on-site facilities visits
- Assessment of the separation and identification system(s)
- Inspection of the chemical inputs (dyes and auxiliaries) and accessories used
- Inspection of the wastewater (pre-)treatment system of wet processors
- Check on social criteria through worker interviews, etc.
- Verification of the operator’s risk assessment of contamination and residue testing policy
The following records are commonly reviewed during inspection:
- Customer invoices
- Supplier invoices and packing slips
- GOTS certificates of suppliers
- Bill of Lading and shipment documents
- Label proofs
- Test results for quality, wastewater, or limit tolerances (depending on your operation)
- Batch sheets or production orders
- Clean out logs
- Pest management records
- Production flow chart
- Audit documents flow chart
- Floor plan with exits and fire extinguishers noted
- Complaint log
- Social compliance policies
#Requirements for labels
GOTS certification carries specific licensing and labeling conditions. Each label “grade” has specific wording to be used in conjunction with the GOTS logo. Please visit the GOTS website to obtain the most recent version of the GOTS Licensing and Labeling Guide.
Per the above sample, the following information is required:
- ‘Organic’ is the label grade (95 percent or greater)
- “Certified by…” is the certifier reference (e.g., Certified by OTCO)
- “License number” is a certifier issued number for each GOTS client
Your license number is linked to the GOTS database and allows customers, buyers, and the general public to find your business listing and check that your operation is certified and what GOTS products are available.
Use of the GOTS logo is not permitted if the product is not certified to its standards. Logo use must always include the label grade, certified by statement and license number.