To build a truly sustainable textile industry, GOTS evaluates the processing and manufacturing of textiles on the basis of both, environmental and social criteria. This means assessing everything from the chemical inputs being used to the ethical treatment of workers. To become GOTS certified, it is mandatory to meet all of the criteria.
The GOTS Standard consists solely of mandatory criteria. In addition the GOTS Manual provides interpretations and recommendations for implementation. The standard covers the processing, manufacturing, packaging, labelling, trading and distribution of all textiles made from at least 70% certified organic fibres. There are two GOTS label-grades:
'organic' requiring a minimum of 95% organic fibres and 'made with organic materials' requiring at least 70% organic fibres.
Key Criteria for Processing and Manufacturing
- Separation from conventional fibre products and identification of organic fibre products
- Use of GOTS approved colourants and auxiliaries in wet-processing only
- Processing units must demonstrate environment management, including wastewater treatment
- Technical quality parameters for colour fastness and shrinkage for finished goods required
- Restrictions on accessories
- Restrictions on additional fibre materials
- Environmentally hazardous substances prohibited in chemical inputs
- Evaluation of toxicity and biodegradability for chemical inputs
The Standard sets requirements concerning working and social conditions that are equivalent to those of leading social sustainability standards. GOTS social criteria, based on the key norms of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), must be met by all processors, manufacturers and traders. They must have a social compliance management system, with defined elements in place to ensure that the social criteria are met.
Some of the sections from social criteria under GOTS Version 7.0 are highlighted here. For more details, see the latest version of the GOTS Standard.
- Employment is freely chosen
- Freedom of association and collective bargaining
- Child labour shall not be used
- No discrimination is practised
- Occupational health and safety (OHS)
- No harassment and violence
- Remuneration and assessment of living wage gap
- Working time
- No precarious employment is provided
- Migrant workers
Reference to ILO: A detailed overview of ILO conventions is listed in section 3 of the GOTS Manual 6.0
OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains in the Garment and Footwear Sector.
UDHR The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.