As issues of sustainability and brand certification become more important, so has the Global Organic Textile Standard increased its scope.

This story first appeared in the May 7, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The number of facilities certified to GOTS increased 11 percent to surpass the 3,000 mark in 2012, growing to 3,016 in 2012 from 2,714 facilities in 2011, according to new data from the GOTS International Working Group.

Considered the leading processing standard for textiles made from organic fibers worldwide, GOTS certification means consumers are purchasing items certified organic from field to finished product.

“Increasingly, consumers are demanding ecologically and socially responsibly processed textiles, and companies are searching for tools to make their supply chains more sustainable,” said Herbert Ladwig, GOTS managing director.

The top 20 countries for the number of GOTS-certified facilities were India, Turkey, China, Germany, Pakistan, South Korea, Italy, Bangladesh, Japan, the U.K., France, Portugal, the U.S., Austria, the Netherlands, Greece, Hong Kong, Mauritius, Peru and Switzerland.

While the top three countries remained the same as the previous year, Germany rose to fourth place, surpassing Pakistan, and Portugal moved from 20th to 12th place by more than doubling the number of its certified facilities. In addition, companies became certified in five countries — Bahrain, Colombia, Kenya, New Zealand and Paraguay — with no previous GOTS-certified manufacturing. GOTS certified facilities are now located in 62 countries around the world.

Overall, Europe led the way with a 44 percent increase in the number of GOTS-certified facilities from 2011 to 2012. Countries with the greatest increase in facilities gaining GOTS certification in 2012 were India, China, South Korea, Germany, Bangladesh and Portugal.

The U.S. ranks 13, with the number of GOTS-certified facilities increasing to 44 from 40 in the year, which the organization said reflected the increased awareness of U.S. organic textile policy that requires companies claiming their fiber products are organic to be certified either to GOTS or the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Organic Program’s standards.

In October, GOTS and the Soil Association launched the first global organic cotton campaign, asking textile industry leaders, “Have you cottoned on yet?” to urge them to sign on and publicly commit to supporting organic fiber production and processing to GOTS.

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