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What is the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)?
The textile label Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is an independent, internationally leading standard advocating the sustainable processing of textiles made from natural fibres (e.g. cotton, linen or silk). This standard refers to the entire chain of production and has therefore established strict guidelines for the various production stages. The GOTS guarantees a complete and credible sustainable production, starting with the growing of ecologically produced, natural resources and the environmentally friendly and socially responsible manufacturing, down to a transparent labelling of the final product.

The textile label Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) has been developed and initiated by the International Working Group on Organic Textile Standard (IWG). This working group consists of various standard organisations:
  • International Association Natural Textile Industry (IVN), Germany
  • Soil Association (SA), England
  • Organic Trade Association (OTA), USA
  • Japan Organic Cotton Association (JOCA), Japan
The goal of this label is to develope an internationally uniform, controllable environmental and social standard for the textile industry. With its uniform processing criteria regarding biofibres the confusion about the many different textile standards eliminated. Additionally it aims to offer the consumer a high, comprehensibly quality reliability.

Eine Auszeichnung mit dem GOTS-Siegel erhalten Naturfaser-Textilien, bei denen in der Produktion und entlang der gesamten Produktionskette auf den Einsatz bedenklicher Chemikalien in der Faserverarbeitung und Textilveredelung verzichtet wurde.

The GOTS-certificate guarantees that on every production stage, including the stage of manufacturing, transport and use, ecological fibres will not be mixed with conventional fibers in any way and or the latter to contaminate the ecological fibres. We choose to us dying colours and aids, that are tested to be neither toxic nor ecologial in any way harmful to human or enironment. According to this the use of toxic heavy metals, formaldehyd, functional nano particles or genetically altered organisms is not permitted. The same goes for accessoiries made of PVC, nickle or chrome. Bleaching is only done in exceptional cases and only with chemicals not consisting of chlor, but oxygen.

It is especially precisely regulated how the fibres will be processed and which fabric is used for what. With this the possible polution burden of the endproduct can be reduced to a minimum.

Social criteria are part of the GOTS-standards as well and are being reviewed. The GOTS follows the minimum criteria set by the International Labour Organisation (ILO): minimum wage, safe working conditions, free unionization, prohibition of child labour, prohibition of discrimination, against working excessively long hours.

There are two GOTS-labels:

„made of x% kbA/kbT fibres“
This basic labeling all GOTS-product must fulfill: At least 70-95% of all fibres must be originating in certificated organic farming (or farming currently converting to organic farming) or controlled organic animal faming. 30% or less of the fibres are allowed to come from conventional farming or even be synthetic.

„Bio“ and „kbA/kbT“
Textiles with this rather strict GOTS-label must consist of at least 95% certificated fibres originating in organic farming or farming currently converting to organic farming. Only less than 5% of the fibres are allowed to come from conventional farming or even be synthetic.

Independant control insitutes with special accriditation carry out the controls in situ and certificate the manufacturers, processing companies and retailers. This is done on the basis of the GOTS- monitoring systems, to ensure the quaility assurance for textiles with the GOTS label.

The GOTS-label can at present be called the most credible and most comprehensive label for environmentally and socially friendly productions of textiles made of natural fibers world wide. It sets high demands to the entire produktion chain, the controls take place independantly and organises its cerification system in an over all transperant and comprehensible way.
While the environmental criteria can be called very strict, one point of criticism can be made in that the social criteria in parts to not go far enough. They do follow the lead of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), but are in some parts not sufficiently defined (e.g. living wages).

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Unterwegs is a company group of specialist outdoor shops which was formed in Wilhelmshaven, Germany in 1987. Initially founded as a pure retail business, the emphasis on service, quality, fairness and a diverse and inclusive range of products soon led to rapid growth and expansion.