With today’s sustainability challenges and the contribution of the fashion and textile industry to those challenges, we must collectively rethink production and consumption of textiles. Organic fibres play multifaceted roles in creating an industry that actively lowers its environmental impact and prioritizes human health over short term profit.
A textile product carrying the GOTS label must contain a minimum of 70% certified organic fibres, a product with the label grade grade 'organic' must contain a minimum of 95% certified organic fibres.
Organic fibres are natural fibres grown without the use of synthetic pesticides (such as insecticides), or herbicides and GMOs (Genetic Modified Organisms) according to the principles of organic agriculture. Organic agriculture is a production process that sustains the health of ecosystems, soils and people.
Organic Fibre Production
Organic fibre production is not directly covered by the GOTS certification system, as GOTS itself does not set standards for organic fibre cultivation. Instead, the cultivation of organic fibres is under the scope of organic farming standards, many of them defined by national governments.
For organic fibre production, a certification to the IFOAM Family of Standards for the relevant scope of production is required. IFOAM has its own accreditation system. The standards approved under the IFOAM family of standards are officially endorsed as organic and include both private and government regulations.
GOTS Initiative on GMO Testing of Cotton
GOTS, together with OCA (Organic Cotton Accelerator) and Textile Exchange (TE) work on a proficiency testing programme for laboratories that can test samples for GMO presence in organic cotton by the ISO IWA 32:2019 protocol.
Organic in Conversion Quick Facts
- The label grade 'organic in conversion' is allowed in GOTS only where the production standard on which the fibre production is based permits it.
- Using the GOTS 'in-conversion' label grade means to support agricultural practices that are transitioning towards organic agriculture. The land is converting from 'conventional' to organic.
- There is usually a 3-year conversion period of land.
- The conversion period increases stability for farmers and their families.
- The GOTS certification process starts at the processing level (e.g. ginning mills for cotton). 'Organic in conversion' products need to be stored and processed separately from conventional and organic products.
- No separate audit is required, but the label grade 'organic in conversion' will be visible on the GOTS Scope Certificate Products Appendix (see Scope Certificate Template).
- 'Organic in conversion' ensures that the supply is meeting a growing demand for organic fibres.