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How to become a certification body

Moratorium on new CB applications

The GOTS Management has taken a decision to impose a moratorium on new CB applications at this time. To know more, please read the following statement:
Moratorium on new Certification Bodies

Conditions for Certification Bodies

GOTS has developed its own accreditation system for this approval process, as well as for continuous monitoring of the approved certification bodies, as outlined in the document 'Approval Procedure for Certification Bodies version 3.0'.

The GOTS accreditation system is based upon the principles of ISO/IEC Guide 17065: 2012 “Conformity assessment - Requirements for bodies certifying products, processes and services". It specifically references the International Requirements for Organic Certification Bodies (IROCB), as released by the International Task Force on Harmonization and Equivalence in Organic Agriculture (ITF, follow up project GOMA) convened by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Since certification according to GOTS has certain features which differ from the certification of products and services covered by ISO/IEC Guide 17065 (e.g. an assessment of management systems such as environmental management and social criteria) and IROCB (which was mainly developed for organic food products), it also includes sector- and GOTS-specific requirements.

Any national or international Accreditation Body that includes the approval and monitoring procedure and the requirements specified in the GOTS accreditation document can provide GOTS Accreditation for certification bodies, while the International Organic Accreditation Services (IOAS), is our main partner in this process. 

As a prerequisite, certification bodies applying for approval as a GOTS certifier must already hold a valid accreditation to perform certification in accordance with ISO/IEC Guide 17065.

Accreditation can be applied according to one, a combination, or all of the following GOTS scopes: 

  • Certification of mechanical textile processing and manufacturing operations and their products (scope 1)
  • Certification of wet processing and finishing operations and their products (scope 2)
  • Certification of trading operations and related products (scope 3)
  • Issue Letters of Approval for auxiliary chemical inputs (scope 4)

GOTS approved Certification Bodies are required to cooperate with all the other approved certifiers in the Certifiers‘ Council, in order to ensure worldwide equal application of the Global Standard and of inspection and certification procedures. They must pay an Annual Fee per facility inspected and/or certified and need to collect licence fees from their certified entities and registration fees from chemical suppliers in accordance with the provisions of the 'Conditions for the Use of GOTS Signs' as amended.

The qualification, competence and all further requirements for application and approval under the GOTS Accreditation System are defined in the document “Approval Procedure and Requirements for Certification Bodies”. Certification Bodies that wish to apply must ensure that they have studied, understood and are willing to follow the terms and conditions set out in this document prior to submitting their application. An application can be submitted using the form below.

Before approval, applicants must sign a Certifier Contract which further specifies their obligations.

Approval Procedure and Requirements for Certification Bodies

Application for GOTS Accreditation

Certificate Templates

In a joint initiative, the GOTS organisation and Textile Exchange (TE) have developed harmonised policies and templates for Transaction and Scope Certificates. The templates merge the layout, format and text of both certificate types for the different certifiers and standards. This will help all users to easily compare, handle and verify the information provided with scope and transaction certificates issued with reference to either GOTS or any Textile Exchange standards.

The templates are to be used by GOTS/TE approved certifiers for any scope and transaction certificates that they issue.

Scope Certificates (SC)

Processors, manufacturers, traders and retailers who have demonstrated their ability to comply with the relevant GOTS criteria in the relevant certification procedure, done through an approved certifier, receive a GOTS Scope Certificate (i.e Certificate of Compliance) confirming that the holder is able to, in the referenced facility, produce in conformity with the Standard textile goods of the kind listed in the Certificate.

Such companies are considered as GOTS certified suppliers (=certified entities) and are listed in the GOTS Certified Suppliers Database. The facilities and subcontractors that have been inspected and assessed for the certification are listed in the annex of a scope certificate, although their names are not disclosed in the Certified Suppliers Database.

The following documents were released in December 2019:

Scope Certificate Policy 
Template for Scope Certificates

Transaction Certificates (TC)

Scope Certificates confirm that the certified entity (=certified supplier) is able to process the listed products/product categories under GOTS certification, but are not proof that specific shipments from this company are GOTS certified.

In order to assure that a specific shipment of products received is GOTS certified, the buyer can ask the supplier to provide a Transaction Certificate (TC). This certificate is issued by the GOTS certifier of the supplier and lists the specific products and shipment details, including the buyer‘s name, as well as address and confirms the GOTS certification status of the shipped goods.

A specific challenge for the practicability of the TC system is that many suppliers generate huge numbers of shipments, which may significantly increase the administrative burden and cost, if a separate TC needs to be issued for each single shipment. In order to address this issue, the policy for issuing TCs has been amended by regulations that cover issuing TCs for multiple shipments.

The following documents were released in December 2019:

Transaction Certificate Policy 
Template for Transaction Certificates