GOTS kicks off third decade with significant growth and forward momentum
A new Standard revision process that allows for greater collaboration, record high numbers of both Certification Bodies and Certified Facilities, and a consumer awareness campaign that reached millions were among the highlights of 2022
GOTS, the world's leading standard for organic textile certification, ended 2022 with record high numbers: 24 GOTS approved Certification Bodies reported a total of 13,549 certified facilities (+10 percent) in 84 countries (+5 percent). “This all-time high in certified facilities across the globe confirms that GOTS meets the needs of the textile industry for an all-inclusive solution to fulfil their sustainability commitments and goals regarding organic textiles” says Claudia Kersten, GOTS Managing Co-Director.
As an ever-evolving benchmark of excellence in the textile processing industry, GOTS has undertaken a comprehensive revision of its standard in 2022 to further enhance its efficacy. Through an improved and more inclusive Standard Setting Procedure (SSP), professionals from diverse stakeholder groups collaborated closely with the Standard Development Unit of GOTS to refine the criteria. Two public consultation periods yielding over 650 distinct public comments helped shape the new Standard, Version 7.0, which was released in March 2023 (read GOTS Version 7.0). "Our steadfast commitment to addressing the textile industry's pressing sustainability challenges is exemplified by the evolution of the GOTS Standard," remarked Rahul Bhajekar, GOTS Managing Co-Director.
The recent suspension of Control Union India by their Accreditation Body, IOAS, serves as evidence of the efficacy of the existing GOTS system. To further strengthen the system’s integrity, GOTS implemented a set of Quality Assurance measures in 2022. Among the key measures are significantly expanded Quality Assurance and IT staff, substantially raised requirements for certified gins, and deepened collaboration with other standard-setters and partner organisations.
One outcome of this collaboration is the recent Organic Cotton & Textiles Conference, which was held in Indore, India from February 27th – March 1st, 2023. GOTS partnered with IFOAM – International Organics and the Organic Cotton Accelerator (OCA) to host the event, which convened a diverse range of stakeholders from across the textile supply chain to promote the advancement of the organic textile sector, address its challenges, and devise solutions regarding regulatory, technology and data issues, as well as on the ground.
As part of the organisation’s efforts to strengthen and expand the global organic textile sector, GOTS recently hosted its inaugural GOTS conference in Africa. The conference, themed “Toward an African Value Chain,” was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in November 2022, and brought together 112 attendees from 21 countries, including producers, processors, brands, and certification partners. The conference provided a platform for in-depth discussions, problem-solving, and networking opportunities.
In addition to these initiatives, GOTS launched its first-ever consumer-targeted marketing campaign, "Say No to Greenwashing, Say Yes to GOTS!", to raise awareness about the importance of certified organic textiles. The centrepiece of the campaign is the "Faces from Field to Fashion" video series, which showcases the individuals behind the production of GOTS certified organic textiles. The campaign has reached millions of consumers worldwide and led to a 49 percent increase in media coverage on GOTS. According to Claudia Kersten, “this consumer awareness campaign is a step towards our mission of making organic textiles a significant part of everyday life. It highlights the importance of strict rules from field to fashion and independent third-party certification for organic textiles and the positive impact they have on people and the planet. We are delighted with the response the campaign has received so far and look forward to continuing to work towards a more organic sustainable future for the textile sector."