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Global Organic Textile Standard Facilities Increase 18% in 2014

When it’s deliver-or-die, supply chains become the lifeblood of a company. To that end, the fashion industry has embraced technology to navigate today’s hyper-complicated supply chain, with myriad solutions shaping the first, middle and last mile. Call it Sourcing 2.0.

The number of facilities certified with the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) grew by more than 18 percent last year, to 3,663. GOTS’ seven representatives worldwide, China, Japan, EU, Germany/Austria/Switzerland, India/Bangladesh U.K., U.S./Canada, are helping to drive the increase of awareness of the certification.

GOTS is recognized worldwide as the leading processing standard for textiles made from organic fibers, with GOTS certified facilities located in 64 countries around the globe. A GOTS certification communicates to customers that these items are certified organic, from field to finished product.

Growth is evenly distributed across all sections of the market, including the mass market and the big brands. The countries with the largest increase in these certifications in 2014 were India (which added 338), Bangladesh (89), Germany (32), Turkey (21) and China (18).

The top 15 countries with the highest total number of GOTS-certified facilities are India, Turkey, Germany, China, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Italy, South Korea, Portugal, Japan, France, U.S., U.K., Austria and Hong Kong. The growth rate of GOTS certified facilities in India, Bangladesh, Turkey and China shows that the pull effect on the supply chain continues to be strong, according to GOTS.

“The growth in certifications demonstrates that GOTS has become the standard of choice for brands and retailers to efficiently manage their organic fiber supply chains,” said Claudia Kersten, GOTS marketing director. “Certification to GOTS also demonstrates a company’s commitment to sustainability through third party and independent GOTS certification and reference to GOTS on product labels instead of self-claims.”

The Organic Trade Association’s recent Organic Industry Survey found that the market for organic textiles is the fastest growing non-food organic category in the U.S., growing to $1.1 billion in sales in 2014. The industry grew 18 percent last year, its strongest growth since 2009. A portion of the growth can be attributed to the 2011 US Department of Agriculture policy, which required companies labeling their textiles as organic to certify their products with the U.S. organic food standard or GOTS.

The number of U.S. companies, ranging in various product lines, gaining certification in 2014 increased 20 percent over 2013. These companies included Burt’s Bees Baby, Boll & Branch, IMM Group, Loomstate, Maggie’s Organics, MetaWear, Michael Stars, Organics and More, Portico, Synergy Organic Clothing, Under the Canopy, PACT Apparel, Welspun and Xamax.

In March, GOTS released a new edition of its Licensing and Labeling Guide. The latest version 4.0 explains where and when GOTS labeling and referencing is not permitted to prevent possible misinterpretation and misuse.

“GOTS has considerably strengthened its widespread global acceptance as a tool that enables and monitors sustainable production worldwide,” GOTS managing director Herbert Ladwig said. “This is also confirmed by the support of governments and worldwide institutions such as the endorsement by IFOAM (International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements), including the recommendation to governments not to start development of redundant standards and regulations, but rather to make reference to GOTS as the processing standard for organic labeled textiles.”

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