GOTS Certification

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STANDARD

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.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION

Only textile products that contain a minimum of 70% organic fibres can become GOTS certified. All chemical inputs such as dyestuffs and auxiliaries used must meet certain environmental and toxicological criteria. The choice of accessories is limited in accordance with ecological aspects as well. A functional waste water treatment plant is mandatory for any wet-processing unit involved and all processors must comply with minimum social criteria. The key criteria of GOTS, its quality assurance system and the principles of the review and revision procedure are summarised in this section.

 

COUNTRY SCOPE

 

  • Bulgaria
  • China
  • Denmark
  • Egypt
  • Germany
  • Hong Kong
  • Pakistan
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Serbia
  • Sweden
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine
  • USA
Licensing and Labelling Guide CAS - A Division of the American Chemical Society GOTS Measures releated to COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak(Extension of Scope Certificates, "Virtual Audits") Update as of 17 April 2020 TC_Policy_V2.1_Dec2019 Global Organic Textile Standard V 6.0 GOTS Measures releated to COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak(Extension of Scope Certificates, "Virtual Audits") Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA) Best Practice Guidance Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA) Measurement Criteria Policy-for-Change-of-Certifiers GOTS Virtual Audit Guidelines V2.0-23June2020 global-organik-tekstil-standardi-v-6-0_1706 gots-uygulamasi-elkitabi-6-0_1698 GOTS_Implementation_Manual_6.0 GOTS_Version_6.0_EN GOTS-Licensing_and_Labelling_Guide GOTS-Policy-for-Change-of-Certifiers-V1.0
 
1. Principles 
 
1.1. Aim of the standard The aim of this standard is to define requirements to 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. 
 
1.2. Scope and structure This 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, garments, fashion textile accessories (carried or worn), textile toys, home textiles, mattresses and bedding products as well as textile personal care products. The standard focuses on compulsory criteria only. Some of the criteria are compliance requirements for the entire facility where GOTS products are processed (2.4.10. Environmental management, 2.4.11. Waste water treatment, 3. Minimum social criteria and 4.1. Auditing of processing, manufacturing and trading stages), whereas the others are criteria relevant for the specific products subject to certification (all other criteria of chapter 2 and chapter 4.2. of this standard). As it is to date technically nearly impossible to produce any textiles in an industrial way without the use of chemical inputs, the approach is to define criteria for low impact and low residual natural and synthetic chemical inputs (such as dyestuffs, auxiliaries and finishes) accepted for textiles produced and labelled according to this standard. 
 
1.3. Certificate of Compliance Processors, manufacturers, traders and retailers that have demonstrated their ability to comply with the relevant GOTS criteria in the corresponding certification procedure to an Approved Certifier receive a GOTS Certificate of Compliance issued in accordance with the 'Policy and Template for issuing Certificates of Compliance (Scope Certificates, SCs)'. Accordingly they are considered Certified Entities. Certificates of Compliance list the products/product categories that the Certified Entities can offer in compliance with the standard as well as the processing, manufacturing and trading activities that are qualified under the scope of certification. Subcontractors and their relevant processing and manufacturing steps become listed on the Scope Certificate of the Certified Entity assigning the certification. GOTS Version 4.0 – Page 5 of 39 
 
1.4. Label grading and Labelling The standard provides for a subdivision into two label-grades. The only differentiation for subdivision is the minimum percentage of 'organic' / 'organic - in conversion' material in the certified product. Labelling of products as 'in conversion' is only possible, if the standard, on which the certification of the fibre production is based, permits such labelling for the fibre in question. Only textile goods (finished or intermediate) produced in compliance with this standard by a Certified Entity and certified by an Approved Certifier (= GOTS Goods) may be sold, labelled or represented as: a) "organic" or "organic - in conversion" or b) "made with (x %) organic materials" or "made with (x %) organic - in conversion materials" and the GOTS logo (or the immediate reference “Global Organic Textile Standard” or the short form “GOTS”). Labelling must be completed by a reference to the Approved Certifier who has certified the GOTS Goods (e.g. certifier's name and/or logo) and the licence number of the Certified Entity (as provided by the Approved Certifier). In all cases the GOTS labelling can only be applied to the product/packaging by a Certified Entity and must have been approved by the Certified Entity's Approved Certifier in advance of its application. Application of GOTS labelling must be in compliance with the ‘Licensing and Labelling Guide’. 
 
1.5. Reference documents Beside this standard the International Working Group has released the following official reference documents that provide for binding provisions and requirements for Approved Certifiers and users of the GOTS: - Manual for the Implementation of the Global Organic Textile Standard: provides interpretations and clarifications for specific criteria of GOTS. Its purpose is to prevent any inconsistent, inappropriate or incorrect interpretation of the standard. It further contains requirements and detailed specifications for the application of the GOTS and the implementation of the related quality assurance system for certifiers. - Licensing and Labelling Guide: specifies the licensing conditions for companies participating in the GOTS certification system and defines the corresponding licence fees. It further sets the requirements for the use of the registered trademark 'Global Organic Textile Standard' (GOTS logo) in order to ensure correct and consistent application on products as well as in advertisements, catalogues or other publications. GOTS Version 4.0 – Page 6 of 39 - Policy and Template for issuing Certificates of Compliance (Scope Certificates, SCs): provides detailed instructions with regard to policies, layout, format and text for issuing Certificates of Compliance - Policy and Template for issuing Transaction Certificates (TCs): provides detailed instructions with regard to policies, layout, format and text for issuing Transaction Certificates - Policy and Template for issuing Letters of Approval: provides detailed instructions with regard to policies, layout, format and text for issuing Letters of Approval for colourants and textile auxiliaries which are approved as inputs for application in the processing of GOTS certified textile products - Approval Procedure and Requirements for Certification Bodies: specifies the approval and monitoring procedures and sets out the related requirements for Certification Bodies to implement the GOTS certification and quality assurance system.
 
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APPLICABILITY OF THE CERTIFICATION SYSTEM
 
The applicability of the GOTS certification system starts with the first processing step in the textile supply chain. In the cotton supply chain the ginning is considered to be the first processing step, whereas in the wool supply chain processing normally starts with the scouring.
 
Organic fibre production is not directly covered by the GOTS certification system as GOTS does not set standards for organic fibre cultivation itself. Instead cultivation of organic fibres is under the scope of the governmental organic farming standards (e.g. the EEC Organic Regulation or the USDA NOP). Organic fibres certified according to these recognised international or national legal standards are the accepted raw material inputs for the GOTS processing and manufacturing chains.
 
The GOTS quality assurance system is based on on-site inspection and certification of the textile processing and trade chain. In particular operators from post-harvest handling up to garment making as well as traders up to the import stage have to undergo an on-site annual inspection cycle and must hold a valid certification as prerequisite in order for final products to be labelled as GOTS certified.
 
Processors and manufacturers that receive a GOTS scope certification have demonstrated to the assigned certifier that they are able to work in compliance with all applicable GOTS criteria in the fields of operations and for the product groups shown on their certificate. They may then accept orders for GOTS compliant processing / manufacturing in their certified scope. Accordingly certified exporters-, importers and traders are authorised to trade GOTS textile products that belong to the scope of their granted certification.
 
Entities that receive a GOTS scope certificate are free to advertise their certified status on the market. They further become listed in the public GOTS data base on this website.
 
ELEMENTS OF THE INSPECTION
 
Generally a company that is participating in the GOTS certification scheme needs to work in compliance with all criteria of the standard. The assigned certifier makes use of appropriate inspection methods which may include but are not limited to the following key elements:
 
• Review of bookkeeping in order to verify flow of GOTS goods (input/output reconciliation, mass balance calculation and trace back lots and shipments). This is a key aspect of the inspection of any operation that sells/trades GOTS goods.
• Assessment of the processing and storage system through of visits to the applicable facilities
• Assessment of the separation and identification system and identification of areas of risk to organic integrity
• Inspection of the chemical inputs (dyes and auxiliaries) and accessories used and assessment of their compliance with the applicable criteria of the GOTS
• Inspection of the waste water (pre-)treatment system of wet processors and assessment of its performance.
• Check on social minimum criteria (possible sources of information: interview with management, confidential interviews with workers, personnel documents, physical on-site inspection, unions/stakeholders)
• Verification of the operator's risk assessment of contamination and residue testing policy potentially including sample drawing for residue testing either as random sampling or in case of suspicion of contamination or non-compliance.