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  • Cynthia Blasberg

What’s your standard? - 5 Questions to Juliane Ziegler from GOTS

GOTS is an independent non-profit organisation. An extensive catalogue of criteria sets out the exact requirements for companies who want to be certified and carry the GOTS label. And greenwashing is strictly off limits, of course. Just one of the reasons why GOTS is the leading textile processing standard in the world for organic fibres. Juliane Ziegler, GOTS representative for Germany, Austria and Switzerland, gives us a few insights into how it all works.

Peruanische Frau mit Kappe in einer Textilfarbrik.
Worker in a GOTS-certified factory in Peru.

GOTS is one of the most renowned certifications around and many consumers are familiar with it, mainly as a certificate for organic cotton. But you also certify entire companies, including manufacturers. Can you give us an overview of what kind of companies you certify?

GOTS is the world’s leading textile processing standard for organic fibres, including environmental and social criteria, backed up by independent certification of the entire textile supply chain. A textile product carrying the GOTS label must contain a minimum of 70% certified organic fibres. Any organic fibres that are naturally grown according to the principles of organic agriculture – the production process sustaining the health of ecosystems, soil and people – are allowed in GOTS products. Finished GOTS certified products include fibre products, yarns, fabrics, clothes, home textiles, mattresses, personal hygiene products, food contact materials and many more. The GOTS logo can only be used for final products made from certified organic fibres if all stages of the supply chain – including all processing stages, textile manufacturing and trading – are GOTS certified. That makes GOTS the leading standard for organic fibres, covering each step from field to fashion.

GOTS-Label, wie Konsument:innen sie kennen.

Which production steps or other fields of business can be awarded GOTS certification?

Every processing step – from field to fashion – can be GOTS certified. GOTS certification starts with the first processing stages (e.g. the ginnery for organic cotton), moving up the supply chain to spinning, weaving and knitting, and eventually to the final trading stages.

"For a final product to carry the GOTS logo, the entire supply chain must have been checked and certified according to GOTS."

GOTS labels include various pieces of information that aren’t necessarily self-explanatory at first sight. Can you explain them to us in detail? What is the licence number, for example?

Anyone who intends to sell, label or represent any textile product with the trademark registered GOTS logo, GOTS labelling or any other reference to GOTS certification must ensure that they comply with the respective criteria and conditions of the Global Organic Textile Standard. For a final product to carry the GOTS logo, the entire supply chain must have been checked and certified according to GOTS. The GOTS label contains the licence number of the certified company, which is usually the last step in the supply chain to be certified. The GOTS logo must always include a reference to the applicable label grade (organic or made with organic), the approved certifier who certified the goods and the licence number assigned to the respective certified company.

Ein Mann in weißem T-Shirt greift einen Stapel Baumwollstoff.
Worker in a GOTS-certified textile factory in the USA.

We interviewed the brand Givn Berlin to ask them about their GOTS certification and were surprised to hear that the costs were actually pretty reasonable.Depending on the certificate, how are the costs made up? Can you give us a few examples to explain the process?

GOTS-accredited independent third-party certifiers are responsible for the on-site inspection and certification of processors, manufacturers and traders. The Global Standard gGmbH, a registered non-profit, only receives an annual licence fee of €150 for each certified facility. The additional costs, which make up the bulk of the certification cost, are calculated and charged by the respective certifier. Factors affecting the certification cost include location and the size and type of company seeking certification. GOTS requires certificates to be renewed each year, so the certification costs are charged annually. But, considering the benefits and impact of becoming GOTS certified, they are regarded as being quite affordable.

To read the 2021 GOTS Annual Report, click here!

Are you planning anything new for the near future? The standard is currently under revision. This revision process takes place every three years to ensure that we keep developing better and stricter textile processing methods. GOTS revision drafts are open to public consultation and comments during the revision process. We would encourage all stakeholders, including associations, organisations, companies and individuals, to get involved. GOTS Version 7.0 will be released in March 2023, followed by a 12-month transition phase to comply with it.

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