GLOBAL ORGANIC TEXTILE STANDARD

ECOLOGY & SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

Development and Implementation

Standard

GOTS Version 6.0, released on 19 March 2020, is available for download here.

After a comprehensive stakeholder input process, yielding over 300 review comments, the GOTS Standards Committee thoroughly discussed each point. External expert opinions were sought when required. Based on the recommendations from the Standards Committee, the GOTS Advisory Council approved the release of GOTS version 6.0 for full implementation by the 1st of March 2021.

Translations of GOTS 6.0 are available in Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Spanish, and Turkish under downloads. The English language Standard will remain the primary operative and definitive document in cases of any variance in translation.

Previous versions of GOTS may be found under downloads.

Relevant Changes from Previous Standard Version

A document that lists a summary of the changes from GOTS 5.0 to GOTS 6.0 is available for download: List of Relevant Changes

This document provides a summary, but not details, of the changes made and should be considered only as informative and supporting material to the Standard and Manual themselves. These two documents contain the binding changes made.

Implementation Manual

GOTS Implementation Manual 6.0 is available for download.

The GOTS Implementation Manual provides interpretations and clarifications for specific criteria of the Global Organic Textile Standard approved by the Standards Committee. This Manual is intended to ensure a consistent, appropriate, and correct interpretation of the Standard. It also contains the requirements and detailed specifications for the application of the Standard, as well as the related quality assurance system for certifiers.

The Manual is a flexible quality assurance tool that provides advice and clarification to GOTS approved certifiers and users and may, therefore, be updated as needed without undergoing a formal standard revision procedure. The interpretations, corrections and further clarifications provided in this document are binding for all approved GOTS certifiers and users of GOTS.

The Implementation Manual is revised as and when additional guidance is necessary for GOTS entities, certifiers and other stakeholders. Typically, new versions of the Implementation Manual are released along with new versions of the Standard.

Previous versions of the Implementation Manual are available for download. Translated versions of the Manual are available in Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Spanish and Turkish under downloads as well. The English language version will remain definitive for any variations due to translation.

Revision Process

Principles of the Revision Process - Stakeholder Input

GOTS is backed up by stakeholder based decision bodies/technical committees which ensure that the views of relevant stakeholders are considered. The GOTS approved certification bodies are also actively involved in the GOTS revision process through the ‘Certifiers Council’.

In order to further broaden the basis of the Standard, GOTS has, and continues to solicit participation from international stakeholder organisations in the process of reviewing and revisioning the Standard. For this purpose, a formal stakeholder input process was established, which started with the revision to develop Standard version 3.0, in 2010. While the review process is a continuous one, Standard revisions are anticipated every three years.

Formal Revision Process for GOTS 6.0

GOTS Version 5.0 was due for revision in 2019 and this process commenced in March 2019. The revision process involved a transparent process, in which multiple stakeholders were encouraged to participate.

The approach was, once again, to set strict and binding requirements for ecological and social parameters, while acknowledging the need for practicability in the industrial production of a wide range of products. To achieve this goal, stakeholders that operate internationally with expertise in the fields of organic production, textile processing, textile chemistry, as well as social criteria and which represent the industry, NGOs and consumer interests in our programme, were invited to contribute to the revision process.

List of Stakeholders Invited to Participate in the GOTS Revision Process to Develop Version 6.0

The approach was to invite stakeholders which operate internationally with expertise in the fields of organic production, textile processing, textile chemistry, as well as social criteria and which represent the industry, NGOs and/or consumer interests in our programme.

Specifically, besides the Advisory Council members, Standards Committee and the Approved Certifiers, the following list of organisations was invited to participate in the GOTS revision process.

  • Clean Clothes Campaign
  • Consumers International
  • Cradle to Cradle (C2C)
  • Ecological and Toxicological Association of Dyes and Organic Pigments
  • EURATEX
  • Fair Labor Association
  • Fair World Project
  • Fairtrade International
  • Fairwear Foundation
  • Fairwild Foundation
  • Greenpeace International
  • IndustriAll
  • International Apparel Federation
  • International Cotton Association
  • International Council of Chemical Associations
  • International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements
  • International Labour Organisation
  • International Textile Manufacturers Association
  • International Wool Textile Organisation
  • TEGEWA
  • Textil-und Bekleidungsverband Nordwest
  • Textile Exchange
  • The Nordic Swan Ecolabel
  • Transparency International
  • Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
  • Social Accountabilty International
  • Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production

Summary of the Process and Timeline

February 2019: Revision Process Information

The revision process to prepare GOTS Version 6.0 and the corresponding Manual for Implementation, as well as the list of international stakeholder organsations to be invited to participate was introduced and discussed at the meetings of the Certifiers Council, the Standards Committee and the Advisory Council.

February - March 2019: Work on 1st revision draft

The GOTS Standards Committee worked on a first revision draft for both the Standard and Implementation Manual, based on the various suggestions and comments received since the release of GOTS Version 5.0.

March - April 2019: Stakeholder Invitations

Selected international stakeholder organisations (see list below) were invited to participate in the revision process; the process and planned timeline was introduced to them and also published on the GOTS website. Other parties, which expressed interest in contributing, were requested to channel their comments through one of the participating stakeholders (Advisory Council members, certifiers, or invited stakeholders).

April 2019: Release of 1st Revision Draft

The GOTS Standards Committee released the first revision draft of GOTS 6.0 and the corresponding Implementation Manual to stakeholders through the installed revision blog.

April to June 2019: 1st Stakeholder Input Period

Stakeholders were able to submit inputs/contributions/comments on the first revision drafts by posting them to the blog, using a specific form available for said purpose. Stakeholders also had the possibility to comment on the contributions provided by the others.

The input period lasted for 60 days, from the 2nd of April until the 31st of May 2019. A further 30 days was available for providing comments on received contributions. This period ended on the 30th of June 2019.

July - September 2019: Deliberation & Consultation by Standards Committee

The Standards Committee collated, assessed, and deliberated on all received contributions. Further consultations with experts were undertaken during this period. Based on these deliberations, a second revision draft of the GOTS 6.0 and the corresponding Implementation Manual was finalised.

September 2019: Release of 2nd Revision Draft

The 2nd revision draft of GOTS 6.0 and the corresponding Implementation Manual were released to stakeholders via the revision blog. An overview-file with all contributions, SC observations, and the reasoning for inclusion in the 2nd revision draft was also provided.

October 2019: 2nd Stakeholder Input period

The revision blog was accessible for a period of 30 days, during which stakeholders were able to provide final comments to the observations provided by the Standards Committee and/or to the changes made from the 1st to the 2nd draft. Strictly no new topics were addressed at this stage of the revision process.

January 2020: Final Revision Draft for approval of the Advisory Council

After deliberating and assessing the received contributions, the Standards Committee prepared a 3rd and final revision draft of GOTS Version 6.0 and the corresponding Implementation Manual to be presented to the GOTS Advisory Council. A revision-file that recorded the changes and inclusions from Version 5.0 was also prepared.The final draft of GOTS Version 6.0 and the Implementation Manual was sent to the Advisory Council for formal approval.

The final draft of GOTS Version 6.0 and the Implementation Manual will be sent to the Advisory Council for formal approval.

February 2020: Approval by the Advisory Council

Formal approval of the Standard Version 6.0 and the corresponding Implementation Manual was obtained during the annual meeting of the Advisory Council and permission was granted to release the same, in the following month.

March 2020: Release of GOTS Version 6.0

GOTS Version 6.0 and the corresponding Implementation Manual were released on the GOTS website on the 19th of March 2020. As is customary, users of GOTS have a one year transition period to fully comply with the new version of GOTS. The effective date for GOTS Version 6.0 is the 1st of March 2021.

GOTS encourages organisations, which are international and representative of any GOTS related aspect, to contribute to the process of the revision of the Standard. GOTS is unable to entertain requests from individuals or national organisations for the same. We would suggest that any such prospective contributors may send in their contributions via any of the listed organisations.

Prospective stakeholders may please send an email expressing their interest with a brief on their background to the GOTS Managing Director at

Quality Assurance System

A company operating a GOTS certified (production/processing) facility ("Certified Entity") must work in compliance with all criteria of the standard. GOTS relies on a dual system to check compliance with the relevant criteria that consists of both on-site auditing and testing, which includes quality parameters and chemical residue testing.

Certification of the entire Textile Supply Chain

  • Natural fibres must be certified organic or organic in conversion according to a recognised international or national organic farming standard that is approved in the IFOAM Family of Standards for the relevant scope of production.
  • The certification body of fibre producers must be internationally recognised through ISO Guide 65/17065, NOP and/or IFOAM accreditation. They also have to be accredited to certify according to the applicable fibre standard.
  • Certified Entities from post-harvest handling, up to garment making, as well as traders have to undergo an onsite annual inspection cycle and must hold a valid GOTS Scope Certificate applicable for the production / trade of the textiles to be certified.
  • The certification body of processors, manufacturers and traders must be internationally accredited according to ISO 17065 and must hold a 'GOTS Accreditation' in accordance with the rules, along with a valid contract with GOTS, as defined in the 'Approval Procedure and Requirements for Certification Bodies'.

Testing of Technical Quality Parameters and Residues

  • Certified Entities are expected to undertake testing in accordance with a risk assessment, in order to assure compliance with GOTS.
  • Testing regimes are to be based on risk assessment.
  • Qualitative GMO Screening of organic cotton is required as per ISO IWA 32.
  • Stringent limit values for residues of hazardous substances are defined in the Standard and/or Implementation Manual.
  • Certified Entities must undergo residue testing according to a risk assessment of contamination.
  • Additional samples may be taken by auditors and sent for analysis to ISO 17025 accredited or GLP compliant labs.
GOTS Monitor (Water/Energy)

Consumption of water and energy and reduced CO2 emissions are the most important and critical aspects of sustainability for textile processors and manufacturers. As part of the environmental management criteria (Section 2.4.10), GOTS requires that — among other information — Certified Entities must have available and provide:

  • data on energy and water resources used, as well as their consumption per kilogram of textile output.
  • target goals and procedures to reduce energy and water consumption per kilogram of textile output.

GOTS Certified Entities can register for a complimentary download of GOTS Monitor.

GOTS Monitor (Water/Energy) is a software tool that aims to support Certified Entities to approach and comply with these requirements. The main functions of GOTS Monitor (Water/Energy) are to:

  • allow easy data collection on energy and water consumption (per kilogram of textile output).
  • provide realistic factory-specific benchmark values for these parameters (specifically for wet processing activities).

Users are supported in setting up and monitoring realistic targets regarding progress in reducing their water and energy consumption. The effects will be visible in environmental terms – in fulfilling the requirements of the GOTS Standard –, as well as in monetary terms, for the business case of sustainability.

After completing the order form, further information will be received by email, entailing extensive instructions on how to download, install and use GOTS Monitor. Watch the GOTS Connect Clip to find out more about the Monitor Water/Energy Tool.

Download the GOTS Monitor

Information Webinar GOTS Monitor (Water/Energy) 2.0

A recording of an information webinar, held on 17 December 2018, to introduce the GOTS Monitor (Water/Energy) 2.0 is available to watch here: Webinar - GOTS 2.0 recording. The slide-set can be downloaded here.

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