From 2020

The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is recognised as the world's leading processing standard for textiles made from organic fibres. It defines high-level environmental criteria along the entire organic textiles supply chain and requires compliance with social criteria as well.

Only textile products that contain a minimum of 70% organic fibres can become GOTS certified. All chemical inputs such as dyestuffs and auxiliaries used must meet certain environmental and toxicological criteria. The choice of accessories is limited in accordance with ecological aspects as well. A functional waste water treatment plant is mandatory for any wet-processing unit involved and all processors must comply with social criteria.

The consensus of the Founding Organizations was that a clear and unambiguous understanding of the content required that the Global Standard itself focuses on compulsory criteria only. The standard covers the processing, manufacturing, packaging, labelling, trading and distribution of all textiles made from at least 70% certified organic natural fibres. The final products may include, but are not limited to fibre products, yarns, fabrics, clothes and home textiles. The standard does not set criteria for leather products. The key criteria of GOTS, its quality assurance system and the principles of the review and revision procedure are summarised as below.

- At all stages through the processing organic fibre products must be separated from conventional fibre products and must to be clearly identified

- All chemical inputs (e.g. dyes, auxiliaries and process chemicals) must be evaluated and meeting basic requirements on toxicity and biodegradability/eliminability

- Prohibition of critical inputs such as toxic heavy metals, formaldehyde, aromatic solvents, functional nano particles, genetically modified organisms (GMO) and their enzymes

- The use of synthetic sizing agents is restricted; knitting and weaving oils must not contain heavy metals -Bleaches must be based on oxygen (no chlorine bleaching)

- Azo dyes that release carcinogenic amine compounds are prohibited -Discharge printing methods using aromatic solvents and plastisol printing methods using phthalates and PVC are prohibited

- Restrictions for accessories (e.g. no PVC, nickel or chrome permitted)

- All operators must have an environmental policy including target goals and procedures to minimize waste and discharges

- Wet processing units must keep full records of the use of chemicals, energy, water consumption and waste water treatment, including the disposal of sludge. The waste water from all wet processing units must be treated in a functional waste water treatment plant

- Packaging material must not contain PVC. Paper or cardboard used in packaging material, hang tags, swing tags etc. must be recycled or certified according to FSC or PEFC