GOTS stands for a Global Organic Textile Standard. This is recognized as the world’s leading standard for processing textiles made from organically produced natural fibers. It defines the environmental requirements along the entire textile production chain and at the same time the social criteria to be observed. Quality assurance takes place through an independent certification of the entire textile supply chain.
In the following we have summarized the rights and obligations that a GOTS certification entails and explain why we initially ‘only’ opted for the seal for the boiled wool collection.
- In principle, all products that carry the GOTS seal must consist of at least 70 percent organically produced natural fibers. The seal then bears the designation "made from X% organic / organic fibers".
- For the stricter GOTS ‘organic’ and ‘kbA / kbT’ labeling, 95 percent of organically produced natural fibers are required.
- Poisonous heavy metals, formaldehyde, functional nanoparticles or genetically modified organisms are prohibited in the production, as are accessories made of PVC, nickel or chrome.
- The use of water and energy must be documented along the supply chain in order to be able to improve the environmental impact in this area, which is particularly relevant for textile production.
- The minimum criteria of the International Labor Organization (ILO) must be complied with. In addition, certain limit values apply to residues to protect workers.
- All companies in the supply chain must be certified and undergo an on-site inspection once a year so that products can bear the GOTS seal. As of a certain delivery volume, we must also be certified as a manufacturing retailer.
The annual costs of a GOTS certification amount to around 1,200 to 3,000 euros – a factor not to be neglected,especially for smaller manufacturers and companies within the supply chain. A product can only bear the seal if every step in the chain has been certified. In some cases, the interfaces involved (e.g. fabrics or suppliers) already have them, but we are not allowed to communicate this as long as the entire supply chain isn’t certified yet. Another reason why not all of our products are GOTS certified (yet) – even if we fundamentally guarantee an ecologically and socially flawless production for all of our products.
Since our new boiled wool manufacturer in Portugal is already GOTS certified, we have decided to take the first steps with this seal in the fall/winter season 2020. Even if we think there is still room for improvement in terms of social standards and we are generally critical of the pricing policy of certifications, the advantages for us as one of the first company to be able to offer a complete boiled wool collection with GOTS certification outweigh the above. With that we can demonstrate once again how important it is to us to have a more sustainable and ecological fashion industry.
By the way: What cannot be taken into account in the context of GOTS certification is the further use and processing of recycled material that does not meet the requirements of the seal. For us, however, recycled material is an important aspect with regard to sustainability and therefore remains part of our product portfolio – even if these products cannot receive GOTS certification.