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GOTS Reports Growth in Organic Cotton Certification

Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) released its 2021 Annual Report, documenting significant developments despite Covid-19’s impacts.

GOTS said increased interest in sustainability in the textile industry led to greater awareness of GOTS certification from businesses and consumers. Last year saw an increase of 19 percent in GOTS certified facilities around the world, with Certification Bodies (CBs) reporting 12,338 facilities in 79 countries, 11 percent more countries than the prior year.

Among the countries with the largest increase in 2021 were Turkey, up 61 percent to 1,799; Italy, with a 53 percent rise to 894; Germany, up 19 percent to 817; Portugal, a 35 percent increase to 608; France, up 22 percent to 122; Denmark, a rise of 14 percent to 115; Switzerland, gaining 15 percent to 61; Belgium, up 55 percent to 59; Sweden, a 34 percent increase to 51, and Vietnam, up 264 percent to 51.

Three new GOTS-approved CBs brought the total to 18, nine of which have chemical input approval in their scopes. The additional CBs are helping meet a growing demand for certification, GOTS noted.

The rise in certifications also allowed GOTS to expand internally, adding representatives, as well as colleagues with expertise in standard development and implementation, quality assurance, communication and IT. GOTS representatives worldwide offered training and education to thousands of participants, including businesses, governmental representatives, certification bodies and other stakeholders. Visits to the GOTS website rose 43 percent from 2020 and GOTS’s following on social media expanded 57 percent across platforms.

“Despite ongoing difficulties and uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, decision-makers continue to pursue their sustainability goals and value GOTS as a tool to accomplish them,” GOTS managing director Claudia Kersten said. “We will continue to strive toward our vision of a future in which organic textiles are a significant part of everyday life, enhancing people’s lives and the environment.”

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Additional highlights covered in the report include chronicling the implementation of the most recent update to the standard document, GOTS version 6.0, and the release of “Conditions for the Use of GOTS Signs (CUGS),” which outlines the rules for using the GOTS logo and labeling and updates to GOTS Scope and Transaction Certification policies that are a crucial part of the certification process.

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. 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 strong social compliance management systems and strict waste-water treatment practices.

GOTS was developed by the Organic Trade Association (U.S.), Japan Organic Cotton Association, International Association Natural Textile Industry (Germany) and Soil Association (UK) to define globally recognized requirements that ensure the organic status of textiles, from field to finished product. GOTS is a non-profit organization that is self-financed.