The number of facilities certified to the Global Organic Textile Standard grew 4 percent last year to 3,814 from 3,663 in 2014.
GOTS, recognized worldwide as the leading processing standard for textiles made with organic fibers, now has certified facilities in 68 countries, compared to 63 in 2014. Growth is evenly spread across all market segments, including the mass market and major brands. GOTS certification enables consumers to purchase items that are certified organic and socially responsible from field to finished product.
Countries or regions with the largest increase in GOTS certification in 2015 were India, with 74 new facilities; Europe, with an additional 58; Turkey, up 27, and Bangladesh, up 21. The top 15 countries with the most GOTS certified facilities are now India, Turkey, Germany, Bangladesh, China, Pakistan, Italy, Portugal, South Korea, Japan, the U.S., France, the U.K., Austria and Denmark.
“Again, the figures show that GOTS’ credible and independent certification of the entire supply chain is an important driver for the business case for sustainability — in contrast to mere self claims,” said Claudia Kersten, GOTS marketing director.
To date the GOTS accredited independent certification bodies report 847,749 people working in 2,799 GOTS-certified facilities. The number is likely to reach one million when the final figures are received.
“This number is a further indication of the relevance of the Global Organic Textile Standard, in addition to the number of GOTS certified operations,” said Herbert Ladwig, GOTS managing director. “We will, with the cooperation of the independent GOTS certifiers and academic research, collect and report additional data in order to demonstrate GOTS’ ecological and social impact.”
Several U.S. companies became certified to GOTS in 2015, including Asheboro Elastics, O Ecotextiles and Draper Knitting. In addition, in 2015, MOM’s Organic Market, a chain of 14 grocery stores in the Washington, D.C. area, instituted a policy effective Jan. 1 requiring that all “organic” labeled textiles sold in its stores must be certified to GOTS and properly labeled with the GOTS logo, license number and label grade for full traceability purposes.
According to the Organic Trade Association’s most recent Organic Industry Survey, the market for organic textiles is the most rapidly growing non-food organic category in the U.S., growing to $1.1 billion in sales in 2014.
GOTS also reported Marcus Bruegel, its technical director, has left his position and has been replaced by Rahul Bhajekar, who will be responsible for the further development and quality assurance of GOTS, including environmental and social aspects. One of his first major tasks will be to spearhead upcoming revision of the GOTS version 4.0.
GOTS is the voluntary global standard for the entire post-harvest processing of apparel and home textiles made with organic fibers such as organic cotton and organic wool, and includes environmental and social criteria. Key provisions include a ban on the use of genetically modified organisms, highly hazardous chemicals and child labor, while requiring strong social compliance management systems and strict waste-water treatment practices.