The number of manufacturing and processing facilities certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) increased 14.6 percent in 2018 to 5,760 facilities employing more than 2 million workers, the organization’s year-end review said.
Certified facilities are now located in 64 countries, and GOTS said progress was seen in both production and consuming regions. Countries and regions with the largest percentage growth in GOTS certification last year were Bangladesh, with a 29 percent increase; North America, which grew 25 percent, and Pakistan and South Korea, each growing 23 percent.
In terms of total number of facilities, India reported the highest increase with a gain of 315, followed by Bangladesh, which added 155 facilities, and Europe, which added 98. The top 10 countries with the most certified facilities at the end of 2018 were India with 1,973, Bangladesh with 689, Turkey with 519, Germany with 500, Italy with 340, China with 301, Pakistan with 238, Portugal with 215, the U.S. with 127 and South Korea with 85.
“The increasing number of certified facilities aligns with the common desire to solve sustainability related problems,” GOTS managing director Claudia Kersten said at the GOTS Annual Meeting in Izmir, Turkey. “It confirms that GOTS is seen as part of the solution. Company leaders use GOTS as a risk management tool and as a market opportunity. Consumers value the verifiable certification from field to finished product.”
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 certified organic fiber, such as organic cotton and organic wool, and includes environmental and social criteria. Only textile products that contain a minimum of 70 percent organic fibers can become GOTS certified.
Key provisions for certification include a ban on the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), highly hazardous chemicals, such as azo dyes and formaldehyde, and child labor. It also requires strong social compliance management systems and strict wastewater treatment practices.