Textile production is a major contributor to climate change. According to ‘A NEW TEXTILES ECONOMY: REDESIGNING FASHION’S FUTURE’, a 2017 report by the Ellen Macarthur Foundation, it produces an estimated 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent (CO2e) per year – more than international flights and maritime shipping combined. The same report states that large amounts of non-renewable resources are extracted to produce clothes that are often used for only a short time, after which the materials are mostly sent to landfill or incinerated. More than USD 500 billion of value is lost every year due to clothing underutilisation and the lack of recycling.
Sustainable fashion is about a combination of different factors. There needs to be change in several different areas; textile production needs to be environmentally and socially responsible and consumer mentality needs to shift with regards to purchasing and product life cycle.
The Global Organic Textile Standard
This is where The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) plays a critical role. It is the worldwide leading textile processing standard for organic fibres, including ecological and social criteria, backed up by independent third-party certification of the entire textile supply chain.
Their vision is that organic textiles will become a significant part of everyday life, enhancing people's lives and the environment.
GOTS certification builds upon four distinctive and unique features:
The GOTS logo can only be applied to the final product if all stages comply with the GOTS criteria. Therefore, all processors, manufacturers, and traders of textiles need to be certified.
ECOLOGICAL AND SOCIAL CRITERIA
In order to create a truly sustainable textile industry, environmental and social criteria are an important part of the certification process. GOTS evaluates the processing and manufacturing of textiles – everything from chemical inputs used to the ethical treatment of employees. All criteria must be met to become GOTS certified.
Some of the sections from social criteria under are highlighted here. For more details, see the latest version of the GOTS Standard.
- Employment is freely chosen
- Freedom of association and collective bargaining
- Child labour shall not be used
- No discrimination is practised
- Occupational health and safety (OHS)
- No harassment and violence
- Remuneration and assessment of living wage gap
- Working time
- No precarious employment is provided
- Migrant workers
More consumers are demanding transparency within the textile industry, and GOTS is meeting this need with their global standard. The initial objective when founding GOTS, was to unify several different standards to create one label and this has become a reality.
So next time you are shopping for your textiles, look out for the GOTS logo to ensure that the product you are buying truly meets the ethical and sustainable standards that our planet needs.