GOTS is one of the latest fashion industry buzzwords. You may have already heard about it or seen it on your clothing labels, but what exactly is it? What are the benefits to conscious consumers?
Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is the golden seal of approval for sustainably processed fabric made with organic fibers, typically cotton.
With sustainable organic clothing options becoming more widespread and popular, how can you be sure your fashion choices are truly sustainable and that you’re not falling prey to misleading marketing?
GOTS defines an international set of standards ensuring the organic nature and status of textiles. Providing a credible assurance to shoppers GOTS monitors the entire fashion supply chain. From farming and harvesting of the raw materials through to environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing practices.
WHAT MAKES GOTS-CERTIFIED ITEMS DIFFERENT FROM CLOTHES THAT ARE SIMPLY MARKED AS ORGANIC COTTON?
Sadly, not all eco-friendly fibers are made equal. Lack of transparency about how fabrics are processed and dyed means many consumers become subject to Greenwashing.
To the uninitiated, Greenwashing makes garments seem fair and planet-friendly when they really aren’t. For instance, a T-shirt labeled as organic cotton may still be processed in a factory that wastes energy and doesn’t give staff fair working rights.
There’s a lot to bear in mind when switching to sustainable fashion when all you really want is to enjoy your shopping safe in the knowledge that you’re not compromising your values.
In this respect, GOTS has you covered: buying yourself a plain white Tee just got a whole lot more exciting. Simply type “GOTS white T-shirt” into a search engine, and you’ll find a range of online retailers that align with your sustainability goals. Even some of the larger stores are jumping on the bandwagon now.
Buying fashion with GOTS certification means you’re wearing clothing that has undergone stringent examination by global-standard.org.
GOTS ITEMS MUST MEET THE FOLLOWING CRITERIA:
- Clothing is made from 70% or more organically farmed fibers
- Only low-impact chemicals are permitted to protect consumer health as well as the environment
- Manufacturers have met water and energy consumption targets and procedures
- Garment factory workers rights are upheld by the key safety norms and values of the International Labour Organisation
Until the fashion industry improves its supply-chain transparency, GOTS is a reassuring way for fashion-conscious consumers to identify sustainable and ethical clothing. Brands that have achieved accreditation proudly display a certification mark and license number on the removable sales tag and the sewn-in garment label.
While GOTS standards offer strong environmental and biodiversity benefits, they can also help you live a more natural lifestyle by eliminating toxins.
You prefer the idea of organic fruit and veg, right? Why is that? You don’t want to ingest harsh chemicals like pesticides and insecticides that are, according to the World Health Organisation, “known to cause birth defects, cancer, and other serious illnesses”.
For the same reason people prefer not to eat food sprayed with toxins, GOTS is a way to prevent absorbing harsh chemicals into your skin through your clothes. This is because GOTS fabric does not use cotton exposed to glyphosates (pesticides and insecticides), toxic heavy metals, formaldehyde or aromatic solvents. Nor has the fabric been subjected to heavy dyes and post-manufacturing products such as flame and soil retardants. Just think of all those farmers and workers who don’t have to be exposed to dangerous heavy industrial chemicals anymore.
GOTS has taken children’s wear in particular by storm. Today, parents care deeply about their child’s skin and recognize that the surface area of a baby’s skin, relative to body weight, means infants absorb at rates five times greater than adults. Not only is GOTS an easy way to ensure that farmers are paid a decent wage and treated fairly, and that child labor does not form any part of the supply chain, it’s also a great way to ensure you’re not exposing or overloading kids with toxic compounds.
Another benefit forming part of the GOTS mantra is the elimination of plastics. All packaging and swing tags for products carrying the GOTS logo must be made of paper or cardboard certified by the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and made from recycled materials.
GOTS isn’t intended as a mark of luxury or quality, but improvements in manufacture and supply chain mean GOTS-certified clothes are usually far superior to their fast fashion counterparts.
The care that has gone into the fabric is palpable: you can literally feel higher quality material between your fingertips.
GOTS clothes feel different, and they feel better, not only on your skin but also on your conscience. A little piece of luxury for you, the people who made your clothes, and the planet.