Questions & Answers
Textile processing, manufacturing and trading entities can apply for certification according to the Global Organic Textile Standard. Farming projects that want to produce organic fibre cannot apply for GOTS certification, but for certification according to organic farming standards (i.e the USDA NOP or the EEC 834/2007).
The initial request and application for GOTS certification must be addressed to a GOTS Approved Certification Body. Approved certifiers are assigned with implementing the GOTS quality assurance system and will be able to answer individual questions related to the inspection and certification procedure.
Contact information for all GOTS approved certifiers, their local representatives, a list of countries where they currently have certified clients in, as well as their accredited scopes, are listed here. Applicants are free to select any of those according to their preference.
- Annual on-site inspection of premises of the processor, manufacturer or trader, performed by an independent and specially accredited certification body.
- Tracing the organic fibre product flow.
- Assessment of all the inputs and accessories used.
- Verification of the wastewater treatment system as part of the environmental management programme.
- Monitoring social criteria and implementing a risk assessment based quality and residue policy are key elements of the inspection protocol.
- Comply with the GOTS social criteria based on the key norms of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
- Provide a written environmental policy. Depending on the processing stages performed, the policy should, for instance, include procedures to monitor and minimise waste and discharges and a programme for reducing these.
- Wet processing units must keep full and comprehensive records of the use of chemicals, energy, water consumption and wastewater treatment, including the disposal of sludge.
- Wastewater from all wet processing sites must be treated in either an internal or external functional wastewater treatment plant before being discharged to surface waters.
The certification costs very much depend on (number of) location(s), size and type of the entity and the range of products that are intended to be processed or traded under the scope of certification. As a rough estimation, entities with one facility can expect an annual certification cost ranging between 1.200 and 3.000 Euro. The Approved Certification Bodies will be pleased to inform applicants about the data they need to provide in order to receive an individual estimate.In addition to the certification cost payable to the certifier, each certified entity must pay an fee for each calendar year. The annual fee is set at 150 Euro for each facility which is inspected for the certified entity. It will be collected by the approved certifier and transferred to GOTS.
Processors and manufacturers that receive a GOTS Certificate of Compliance (=Scope Certificate) are authorised to accept orders for GOTS compliant processing/manufacturing in their certified scope. Certified importers and exporters, as well as other traders, are authorised to trade in GOTS textile products within the scope of their certification. Entities that receive a GOTS Scope Certificate are free to advertise their certified status on the market. They are also listed in the GOTS Certified Suppliers Database.
- Look for entries in the certified suppliers database, which contains all GOTS certified entities as reported by GOTS approved certifiers.
(While we strive to keep our database up to date, entries to the database cannot be used as a definitive verification. To receive appropriate proof of the certified status of a company e.g. as a potential supplier of GOTS certified products check the copy of the Scope Certificate, available on the company’s database entry.)
- Companies claiming to be GOTS certified can also be requested to provide their GOTS Scope Certificates. This certificate must have been issued by a GOTS Approved Certifier and has to show (among other information) the company's contact details, as well as the scope of its GOTS certification.
- In case of doubt of the authenticity of the certificate, one can – in the last instance – seek confirmation of this through the certificate number by the approved certifier who issued the certification.
Correct and complete GOTS labelling shows the trademark-registered GOTS logo (or the lettering ‘Global Organic Textile Standard’), the GOTS label grade (‘organic’ or ‘made with organic’), details of the certification body and the licence number and/or name of the certified entity. As retailers are not obliged to be certified themselves, the labelling may show the licence number and/or name of their supplier (trader, manufacturer) of the final product. Consumers can look up the data set of the certified entity by entering the licence number (or name), provided on the GOTS labelling in the ‘free text field’ of our certified suppliers database.Only correct GOTS labelling provides assurance to consumers that the final product is GOTS certified. It should be noted that products identified, advertised or offered for sale without this labelling, but with other references to GOTS (certification), may not indicate GOTS certification of the final product. The GOTS labelling conditions do not permit use of the GOTS label (or reference to GOTS certification) on the garment/final textile product, if the GOTS certification is merely valid for intermediate products/steps (such as yarn or fabric) only. It is a precondition for on-product label use that the whole value chain and the final product is certified. Claims on textile products, such as ‘this garment is made from GOTS certified cotton or yarn or fabric’, are claims made by the seller and are not verified or verifiable through the GOTS certification process.
As a principle, all operators of the processing and manufacturing chain, as well as B2B traders, must be GOTS certified as a prerequisite that a final product can be sold, labelled or represented as GOTS certified. Details can be found under Who needs to be certified.
Labelling and Logo Use
- Its supplier holds a valid Scope Certificate, issued by an approved certifier and covering the goods sold:
- If the retailer also has B2B trade activity (e.g. sales to other retailers) and/or (re)packs or (re)labels the GOTS goods, the retailer has to be certified. The same conditions for the certification of traders, as detailed below, apply.
- If the retailer does not have a B2B trade activity and does not (re)pack or (re)label the GOTS goods, the retailer is exempt from the certification obligation.
- The product is properly labelled (GOTS logo), said labelling contains a reference (name and/or reference number) to the manufacturer, as well as to its approved certifier and has been released by this approved certifier. The retailer is strongly advised to (contractually) request a “Transaction Certificate“ issued by the respective GOTS approved certifier, from his supplier for each shipment, as proof that the goods are properly GOTS certified.
- The trader holds a valid Scope Certificate from an approved certifier. This requirement is valid for traders with a B2B trade activity (e.g. for importers, exporters and wholesalers). Only traders, who have an annual turnover of less than 20.000€ in GOTS goods and who do not (re)pack or (re)label them are exempt from the certification obligation. However, they must register with an approved certifier and must inform them immediately if their annual turnover from GOTS goods exceeds 20.000€.
- The intended use of the GOTS logo or other reference has been permitted by the approved certifier.
- Full records are maintained for each client that receives GOTS goods, including lists of all products, their specifications and quantities.
- They hold a valid Scope Certificate from an approved certifier covering such goods.
- The intended use of the GOTS logo, or other reference to GOTS certification, has been permitted by the approved certifier.
- Maintain full records of each client that receives GOTS goods, including lists of all products, their specifications, and quantities.
Stakeholders, NGOs, media and other parties that distribute independent (consumer or industry) information can use the GOTS logo in conjunction with accurate statements about GOTS and its quality assurance system. They can obtain a high resolution logo by sending a request indicating the purpose of the logo use by email to .
It is important to note here that bast bamboo fibre is practically never used in consumer products especially for apparel / close to skin textiles.
The range of substances banned by GOTS is even more extensive than the Greenpeace list
- All chemical inputs (dyes and auxiliaries) used in the processing chain of GOTS certified textiles need to be approved by a GOTS approved certifier prior to their usage. The basis for their assessment is the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) which must be compiled according to a recognised norm or directive. The approved certifiers require further sources of information in the assessment - including additional toxicological and environmental data for specific components of the auxiliary agents, test reports and an independent laboratory analysis. Hence, GOTS approved chemical inputs have all been screened in detail before textile processors permit their use. More information about the input review process and the approved certifiers.
- The trade names of all approved dyes and auxiliaries are compiled on "Positive Lists" that are available to all entities participating in the GOTS certification programme. Inputs not included on the Positive List are not allowed to be used.
- As part of the annual on-site inspection that all businesses participating in the GOTS certification programme must undergo, the certifiers verify the use of compliant chemical inputs by examining the textile processors’ input recipes. Related GOTS control measures also include inventory checks of the chemical storage area(s), as well as the review of records and accounts for chemical inputs (invoices, delivery notes) to ensure that the declared and approved chemical inputs have been purchased in sufficient quantity to produce the given amount of GOTS Goods.
- GOTS also requires testing of textile materials, intermediates and finished products in accordance with a risk assessment or, in the case of suspicion, that prohibited substances have been used. Since it is not affordable and reasonable to make testing of any prohibited substance part of the usual test protocol, GOTS (chapter 2.4.15) focuses the test protocol on prohibited substances which may well pose a valid risk for presence in allowed GOTS materials, chemical inputs, processes, finishing methods and storage of GOTS products and that are known to have a harmful effect on humans or the environment.
- While any detection of prohibited substances at any level needs to be investigated for potential (intentional) use of the prohibited substance, (avoidable) contamination, or any other violation of GOTS criteria, the following limit values for intermediates and final products related to the Detox chemicals are outlined in GOTS chapter 2.4.15: