GOTS is the stringent voluntary global standard for the entire post-harvest processing (including spinning, knitting, weaving, dyeing and manufacturing) of apparel and home textiles made with organic fiber (such as organic cotton and organic wool), and includes both environmental and social provisions for post-farm to retail shelf management. Key provisions include a ban on the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), highly hazardous chemicals such as azo dyes and formaldehyde, and child labor, while requiring living wages and strict waste water treatment practices. Because all fiber certified to GOTS must already be certified organic, GOTS certification means consumers are purchasing items certified organic from field to finished product.
The top twenty countries based on the number of GOTS-certified facilities are India, Turkey, China, Pakistan, Japan, South Korea, Italy, Germany, Bangladesh, United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Peru, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, United States, Portugal, Taiwan, Indonesia, France, and the Netherlands.
The public database contains almost 400 dyeing facilities, more than 200 spinning, knitting, and weaving units, and approximately 140 printing and manufacturing facilities. While more than 700 companies are listed with an export business, currently about 50 import operations hold GOTS certificates as well. Twelve independent certification organizations around the world are qualified to certify operations to the standard.
According to the GOTS International Working Group made up of the Organic Trade Association (U.S.), Japan Organic Cotton Association, International Association Natural Textile Industry (Germany), and the Soil Association (UK), the database will enable companies developing an organic fiber supply chain easy access to the most up-to-date information.
"The new GOTS web site will take the guess work out of creating a coordinated supply chain and make it much easier for companies around the world to do business easily and efficiently," said Christine Bushway, OTA's Executive Director.
Global retail sales of organic cotton apparel and home textile products reached an estimated $3.2 billion in 2008, according to the Organic Cotton Market Report 2007-2008 released by the non-profit organization Organic Exchange in March 2009.
GOTS Coordinator Herbert Ladwig will speak about GOTS at Interstoff Asia in Hong Kong March 18.
The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is the membership-based business association for organic agriculture and products in North America. Its members include growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers' associations, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants, retailers and others. OTA's Board of Directors is democratically elected by its members. OTA's mission is to promote and protect the growth of organic trade to benefit the environment, farmers, the public and the economy.