Higher welfare goals set by organic textile standard

Significant worker welfare and environment provisions are included in changes to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).

Version 3 of the GOTS organic fibre processing standard includes a ban on garment finishing methods considered harmful to workers (such as denim sand blasting) and a requirement that any polyester in GOTS-certified products be made of post-consumer recycled material by 2014. Provision is also made for permission for polypropylene to be used as an ‘additional fiber material,’ and more material options for accessories. In addition, the previous total ban on all chemical fabric finishes has been lifted, meaning that most fabric finishes are now permitted — but only if they meet the stringent GOTS toxicity criteria.

Version 3 also sets water and energy use reduction goals, while a social compliance management plans aims to ensure minimum social criteria are met. All companies wishing to be GOTS-certified will have to fully comply with Version 3 by March 1, 2012

• The International Working Group on Global Organic Textile Standard is comprised of four reputed member organisations, namely OTA (USA), IVN (Germany), Soil Association (UK) and JOCA (Japan), which contribute to the GOTS, together with further international stakeholder organizations and experts, their respective expertise in organic farming and environmentally and socially responsible textile processing.