When buying sustainable products, you need a way to verify if the brand’s claims are valid.
Looking at sustainability certifications, such as the Global Organic Textile Standard — referred to as GOTS for short — is one of the best ways to verify whether a brand is sustainable or not.
You’ll see the GOTS acronym used on product pages, care tags on clothes, and mentioned on the sustainability pages on company websites.
In this article, we’ll explain the Global Organic Textile Standard Certification, whether it means a product is sustainable, the types of material that can be GOTS certified, and more.
Let’s jump right in.
What is the Global Organic Textile Standard?
The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is a non-profit organization that sets a standard for what classifies a fiber as being called ‘organic.’
The GOTS certification is a good benchmark for the sustainability of a product.
There are two levels of GOTS Certification that products can meet:
- GOTS Certified: 70% organic fibers
- GOTS Certified Organic: 95% organic fibers
As well as a criteria around the fibers used in the product, becoming GOTS Certified also requires a product or company to meet various environmental and social standards. Let’s take a look at those in the next section.
What are the requirements to be GOTS Certified?
Several key provisions make something eligible to be GOTS Certified.
The provisions cover fibers, ecological and social criteria, the processing stages, and third-party audits.
Some of the specific provisions include:
- Minimum of 70% certified organic fibers (95% minimum to add the organic label)
- On-site inspection of manufacturing and processing plants by GOTS accredited auditors
- Ensuring all employees are working by choice, in good conditions, and with fair pay
- Restrictions on toxic chemicals that brands can use in the production process
- Environment management systems in place at manufacturing plants, such as wastewater management
You can read the complete standards on the GOTS website here.
GOTS Certified Organic vs. Organic Cotton
All GOTS-certified organic cotton is organic, but not all organic cotton is GOTS certified.
Products and materials can be classed as organic even if they don’t have a GOTS Organic certification.
Just because a brand doesn’t use GOTS as their standard doesn’t necessarily mean they’re unethical or use non-eco-friendly materials. In addition, there are other sustainability certifications you can look for, like B Corps and Oeko-Tex, that also provide a good insight into a brand’s level of sustainability.
However, we do like to see brands use the GOTS certification on their organic products because it adds a level of trust to the claim, and you know they have ensured their product has been made ethically from start to finish.
What type of material can be GOTS Certified?
The certification is commonly used on cotton products, but that’s not the only material that can be GOTS Certified.
GOTS Certified products can include up to a 30% content of fibers including:
GOTS Certified products can’t include materials such as:
Examples of Brands with GOTS Certification
Today, more and more sustainable brands are choosing to use GOTS Certified materials as it proves they are making genuine efforts to be sustainable.
You can check if individual brands are GOTS Certified using the database search tool on the Global Standard website.
Some popular sustainable fashion brands that are GOTS Certified include:
It’s always worth checking if a brand has sustainability certifications like GOTS before shopping from them. If they don’t have a GOTS certification, it doesn’t necessarily mean a brand isn’t sustainable. Check if they have other certifications, such as being a Certified B Corp, or if they use other eco-friendly materials.
However, being GOTS Certified is a good thing in our view. It shows a brand is committed to complete supply chain sustainability when it comes to any products they use that include GOTS Certified materials.