The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is recognized as the world's leading processing standard for textiles made from organic fibers. It defines high-level environmental criteria along the entire organic textiles supply chain and requires compliance with social criteria as well. All chemical inputs such as dyestuffs and auxiliaries used must meet certain environmental and toxicological criteria. All of the clothing and bags we use to print our designs are GOTS certified.
The key criteria for fiber production can be identified as:
- Organic certification of fibers on basis of recognized international or national standards (IFOAM family of standards, EEC 834/2007, USDA NOP)
- Certification of fibers 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 fibers whereas a product with the label grade ‘made with organic’ must contain a minimum of 70% certified organic fibers
Key criteria for processing and manufacturing include:
- At all stages through the processing organic fiber products must be separated from conventional fiber 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 minimize 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
Social criteria based on the key norms of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) must be met by all processors and manufacturers. They must have a social compliance management with defined elements in place to ensure that the social criteria can be met. For adequate implementation and assessment of the following social criteria topics the listed applicable key conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO) have to be taken as the relevant basis for interpretation.
- Employment is freely chosen
- Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining
- Working conditions are safe and hygienic
- Child labor must not be used
- Living wages
- Working hours are not excessive
- No discrimination is practiced
- Regular employment is provided
- Harsh or inhumane treatment is prohibited
More information can be found on the GOTS website here.