Every industry comes with a sack full of certification options. Each certification has it’s own set of qualifying criteria, and some are definitely more rigorous than others. The only way to know what you’re buying is to understand the criteria for certification, and the system for becoming certified. The GOTS certification is the ultimate in organic textile standards; it’s your guarantee that the product you’re buying is the best it can be for people and for the planet.
We chose GOTS certification for our Whollygrail textiles because it gave us the confidence of an independently assessed process that covered production, processing and manufacture, and addressed environmental, technical quality, human toxicity and social criteria.
To achieve certification, the entire process from seed all the way through to the consumer is assessed. This ensures safety of people throughout the process – from the farmers, the workers, all the way through to the end users, who have selected a product that is safe from harmful chemicals near their body, in their homes and around their families. By extension, it also means there is less pollution of the air, water and soil with toxic chemicals, which is better for all people, and animals.
The GOTS certification ensures the people involved in the process of production and manufacture are working in safe conditions, receiving a living wage in accordance with the ILO (International Labour Organisation).
With strict standards on products, processes and systems, the GOTS certification ensures there is minimal impact to the environment from manufacture. With clear exclusions on use of any harmful substances throughout the process, the certification even tests residues from production, to be absolutely sure of the adherence to standard.
GOTS certification requires farmers to hold a national organic farming standard, producers to be internationally recognised through ISO 65/17065 quality accreditation, NOP and/or IFOAM. Operators undergo a yearly onsite inspection cycle to remain accredited, which is without prior scheduling.
The GOTS inspector happened to be involved in an audit while I was visiting one of our factories. It’s an accepted part of business for those involved with organic and fair trade manufacture. It’s a robust process that provides confidence for the consumer and for the producer and manufacturer who is committed to the ethics of their business.
With less than 1% of the world’s cotton production being organic, there’s a lot of room for improvement in cotton manufacture, and many reasons to choose GOTS certified products when you go shopping.
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