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First processing stages

As a processing standard, certification according to GOTS begins with the first processing stage of textile fibres. For example, for cotton, ginning is the first processing stage, at which seeds are removed from cotton bolls. Other examples are retting for bast fibres (like flax, hemp, jute, kenaf, ramie, etc.). Among animal fibres, boiling and washing cocoons for silk is the first step that is covered under GOTS and for wool, scouring is the first step. If grading of wool is not covered by the organic farming certification, grading would be the first processing step in a GOTS certified entity.

Elements of Inspection

During an on-site inspection, a facility at the first processing stage should show evidence that organic and conventional fibres are never commingled to avoid contamination. This can be ensured via different storage locations, clear markings, proper storage and handling, etc. Training and awareness of workers is of paramount importance here, since raw organic and conventional fibres look the same.

Raw fibres purchased must be certified to an organic production standard that is approved in the IFOAM Family of Standards for the relevant scope of production (crop or animal production). The qualitative GMO Screening of organic cotton is required as per ISO IWA 32. Prohibited are raw fibres that originate from production projects with a persistent pattern of gross violations of the International Labour Organization (ILO) core labour norms and/or of animal welfare principles (including Mulesing) and/or land grabbing.

Receiving and validating Scope Certificates and Transaction Certificates for incoming raw fibres is of utmost importance to verify the organic status of raw materials purchased. In a GOTS certified entity, consideration of wastage, volume reconciliation and appropriate transportation documentation are some other steps that need to be documented.

For the processed organic material sold by GOTS certified entities the Transaction Certificates shall include information about quality parameters like micronaire and fibre length.

Some parameters are equally applicable to all processing stages under GOTS certification, like:

  • Social Criteria
  • Ethical Business Behaviour
  • Environmental Management