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"Organic" does not equal "organic" and we think a sustainable business is extremely important in general, but especially in the textile industry. Thus we have decided to produce all our products according to the "Global Organic Textile Standard", short GOTS. In the following we would like to explain to you briefly what it's all about.
The "Global Organic Textile Standard" was developed in 2008 with the aim to define world-wide recognized requirements that ensure organic status of textiles. This includes all steps, from harvesting of the raw materials, through environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing up to labeling in order to provide a credible assurance to the end consumer. Textile processors and manufacturers are enabled to export their organic fabrics and garments with one certification accepted in all major markets.
Today, the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is recognized as the world's leading processing standard for textiles made from organic fibers. It is continuously being developed and defines high-level environmental criteria along the entire organic textiles supply chain and requires compliance with social criteria as well, backed up by an independent certification.
This means it is not sufficient if only the fibers are produced biologically. All stages of production, from the cultivation of cotton to the packaging and labeling of the final product, must meet strict ecological and social criteria.
What this actually means in practice, we briefly want to illustrate to you on the basis of different production sectors.
Only textile products that contain a minimum of 70% organic fibers can become GOTS certified. In the organic cultivation of cotton no pesticides or any other harmful substances, which harm the environment or the health of farmers, are used. Only natural fertilizers are used and the cotton is picked by hand. In contrast, conventional cotton is mainly harvested by machine and to facilitate this, a chemical defoliant is often applied. This method does not exist in the harvest of organic cotton.
GOTS divides textiles into two label-grades: Label-grade 1 is "organic", label-grade 2 is "made with organic". While at grade 2 at least 70% certified organic fibers must be used, at label-grade 1 it must be even 95%, for the product to be labeled as "organic". All VATTER products meet the criteria for grade 1 and therefore proudly carry the "organic" seal.
PROCESSING AND MANUFACTURING
In the further processing of textiles only substances and processes, which are as environmentally friendly as possible, may be used. All chemical inputs such as dyestuffs and auxiliaries must meet certain environmental and toxicological criteria. Printing, for example, is allowed solely with water-based paints and bleaching is done based on oxygen, not chlorine.
The choice of accessories is limited in accordance with ecological aspects as well and for any wet-processing unit involved, a functional waste water treatment plant is mandatory.
To ensure complete compliance with the requirements, all companies involved, from the cultivation to the finished product, need to be GOTS certified.
All processors and manufacturers must meet a certain level of social criteria based on the key norms of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). They must have a social compliance management with defined elements in place to ensure that the social criteria can be met. These include among others:
• Employment is freely chosen
• Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining
• Working conditions are safe and hygienic
• Child labor must not be used
• Living wages
• Working hours are not excessive
• No discrimination
• Regular employment is provided
We hope this overview gives you an understanding of the Global Organic Textile Standard. Of course there are many other textile labeling standards, but for us GOTS was and is the first choice, because it covers all areas of textile production, in environmental as well as social terms. Thus, we got certified ourselves and are therefore entitled to mark our products with the GOTS seal.
We are convinced that such a textile labeling is absolutely necessary both for you as a customer, as well as for ourselves. Only this certification ensures you that a product labeled as "organic" is really made completely "organic". Just because "organic cotton" is written on a piece of clothing that does not mean that it was not dyed with lead paint for example. For us as a company such a seal is the only way to differentiate ourselves from the many black sheep out there in the textile industry.
If you want to know more about GOTS, please click here.