The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is a processing standard for natural fibres such as cotton. It looks beyond just ecological effects - GOTS certification also carries strict social criteria which encompass the entire supply chain rather than just the growing process. Social responsibility is a core element of achieving a GOTS certification and carries an equal importance to enviornmental responsibility.
The base criteria of GOTS certification is the requirement that the textile is produced from at least 95% certified organic natural fibre. Chemical inputs used by textile processors must comply with the corresponding GOTS criteria. An extensive table outlines which chemicals cannot be present in the fibre in order to achieve certification.
Moving to processing and manufacturing, a GOTS certified product must be seperated from conventional fibre throughout the manufacturing process to prevent contamination with non-GOTS fibre. Any bleaching must be oxygen-based to avoid the use of chlorine. Any dyes containing carcinogenic amine compounds also cannot be used. The water usage, energy consumption and waste treatment must be recorded by the manufacturer with the waste water being treated and not disposed of.
The social standards of a GOTS certified product are taken based on the conventions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). Nine different ILO standards must be adhered to, including important criteria such as: freely chosen employement (C29 - Forced Labour Convention), the right to collective bargaining (C154 - Collective Bargaining Convention), the use of child labour (C138 - Minimum Age Convention), living wages (C131 - Minimum Wage Fixing Convention) and appropriate working hours (C1 - Hours of Work (Industry) Convention).
Quality assurance is always very important to ensure compliance both initially and in the long term. GOTS has a two-faceted approach to quality assurance: on-site audiitng of the required standards outlined above and regular residue testing in ISO 17025 accredited labs using sampled fibres. The farmer's growing practices must be certified with any party involved in the supply chain. Any member of the supply chain from post-harvest to production with have an annual inspection cycle to ensure conformity.
At Earth Wardrobe we stock several ranges which are GOTS certified. Our Russell Pure Organic range is made from 100% cotton that is not only GOTS certifed but also OCS certified. This even includes the organic oxford shirt. Our Mantis Tees range is also GOTS certified. Mantis World place enviornmental and social responsibility at the heart of their product and go above and beyond the requirements of GOTS certificaton. You can find more information on the Mantis category page.