Textile Exchange announced Friday that it was making a policy change to the Organic Content Standard (OCS) it created.
As of Dec. 1, OCS will mandatorily require that site inputs from Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) provide traceability of all transaction certificate data back to the original farm source, such as full transaction certificate data, including product and input product, and farm input data like farm capacity.
In addition, to decisively prevent fraud and to provide a double safety net, all first processors, such as cotton gins, that ultimately provide GOTS inputs into an OCS product down the supply chain need to be certified to the OCS and provide evidence of all inputs from farms.
Textile Exchange is asking certification bodies and standards users to provide this additional data and said it might require the former to amend contracts, policies and technology systems to make this possible.
“While we can require our own certification bodies to supply this data, we cannot extend this requirement to certification bodies operating in other schemes,” it said. “To minimize business disruptions and resolve possible data sharing concerns, we recommend that all sites not currently certified to OCS begin the necessary steps to become OCS certified to ensure that data may be clearly shared through their certification bodies with Textile Exchange.”
Textile Exchange is waiving OCS certification fees through June 30, 2023, for any site that is currently GOTS certified and decides to add OCS certification; this does not apply to sites that already have OCS and GOTS certificates. Textile Exchange is also permitting certification bodies to issue OCS scope certificates without conducting audits of sites holding valid GOTS certificates with the same validity through the same date.
Combined GOTS and OCS audits would then occur simultaneously with the GOTS renewal timing, Textile Exchange noted. In all these cases where an OCS scope certificate is issued through June 30, the validity date will be the same as the GOTS scope certificate.
This policy change occurs in ASR-106 Accepted Equivalent Standards Policy and contributes to Textile Exchange’s continued efforts to strengthen integrity in organic cotton. The additional data sharing will enable Textile Exchange to have full traceability of the inputs to the OCS and allow the organization to perform more robust volume reconciliation in coordination with GOTS. It will also provide more detailed traceability information with standards users as systems like TrackIt come online.
Textile Exchange said it has been committed to supporting the integrity of preferred fibers and materials, and in particular, organic cotton, since its inception in 2002. The organic cotton sector has grown from that time into a global network of producers, traders, governmental agencies, certification bodies and non-profit organizations to support this growth, with Textile Exchange’s standards, data reporting and convening efforts have been a part of this community and a part of the growth of the sector.