Colourants and/or textile auxiliaries, which are used for wet-processing of organic textiles, are collectively referred to as Chemical Inputs in GOTS terminology. This includes dyestuffs, pigments, inks, enzymes, sizing agents and other auxiliaries used in textile wet processing operations. Under the GOTS system, only those inputs can be used, which have been assessed and approved according to the Standard by a Scope 4 GOTS Approved Certifier.
The demand for GOTS certified textiles is growing, which – in turn – leads to an ever-increasing demand for GOTS approved inputs. Since GOTS approved inputs come with an assurance of being free from hazardous substances, meeting environmental criteria, as well as low toxicity and high biodegradability, wet-processing facilities prefer to use GOTS approved inputs even for non-GOTS orders. This also helps them to ensure lower effluent load and cleaner wastewater.
Collectively, this leads to higher interest from suppliers of inputs to obtain GOTS approval for their products. GOTS approved inputs, offered and advertised by the textile chemical industry, are widely recognised and used in the industry. As of June 2020, more than 24.000 trade names of inputs from 700+ suppliers are approved.
Suppliers of chemical inputs must hold a prepared and available Safety Data Sheet (SDS), at all times. The SDS must come in a form according to one of the following norms/directives, which contain appropriate information with regard to GOTS criteria, in order to be used as an accepted basic tool for evaluation:
• ANSI Z400.1-2004
• ISO 11014-1
• EC 1907/2006 (REACH)
• GHS (Global Harmonised System)
• EC 2015/830
• JIS Z 7253:2012
Not all GOTS criteria can be assessed solely based on the SDS, as some GOTS criteria are not required to be declared there. Occasionally, an SDS may contain insufficient, contradictory, or even false information. Therefore, the certifiers need to consider additional sources of information, such as independent lab tests, traceability checks of ingredients, etc. to determine or reconfirm the components of a chemical input and its environmental and toxicological parameters.
Manufacturers and suppliers of chemical inputs that wish to have their products approved under GOTS criteria should contact a relevant GOTS Approved Certification Body. The revisions of the Standard may entail changes or amendments to the requirements for chemical inputs. The colourants and auxiliaries approved in the previous version will, therefore, need to be reassessed and relisted according to the new GOTS Version. The certifiers accredited for chemical input assessment collect a GOTS registration fee of 25 Euros per approved and listed trade name of a chemical input. This fee is not an annual one but is payable on registration in each general new version of the Standard (which is scheduled every 3 years).
With the implementation of GOTS Version 7.0, chemical formulators are required to implement product stewardship practices and undergo an on-site audit for environmental management systems, as well as occupational health and safety.
The GOTS organisation developed a policy and related templates to unify the layout, format and text among different certifiers, in order to enable an easy and practical handing, as well as verification for all users of Letters of Approval. The Version 2.0 of policy and the corresponding templates to be used for any Letters of Approval issued for inputs (colourants and textile auxiliaries) and accessories was implemented on 1st December 2020 and applies all subsequent versions of the Standard.
Items that are added to supplement GOTS Goods for required functional or for fashionable reasons are called accessories.
There are two sets of criteria for accessories under GOTS. The first set concerns permitted fibres and materials, and is more lenient compared to the stringent criteria for the main textile materials in GOTS Goods. For example, sewing thread made from virgin polyester or laces made from conventional cotton are permitted in accessories. Still, there are restrictions on specififc other fibres or materials, such as carbon fibres, silver fibres, asbestos etc., which are not permitted. Additionally, chlorinated plastics, chromium, nickel, etc. cannot be used.
The second set of criteria for accessories requests the avoidance of residues of hazardous substances in accessories. It is also referred to as Restricted Substance List (RSL). As indicated in the Implementation Manual 6.0, Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex is an acceptable alternative for the RSL part.
In line with Policy for Approval of GOTS Additives, the assessment is done based on material composition and test reports. An on-site audit for suppliers of accessories is not required.