GOTS Certification: What Does It Mean?

GOTS Certification: What Does It Mean?

GOTS Certification: What Does It Mean?

These days, organic products are trendy and on the rise.

Even more than that, they are better for society, the environment, and your household. Opting for organic textiles, garments, and bedding is one of the best ways to take care of your biggest organ—your skin. Free from harsh chemicals and manufactured under stricter regulations, going organic has immense benefits from the macro level to the micro level. 

Due to increased education and accessibility to organically sourced materials, buying organic items is easier and more popular than ever. Companies know this, and to give consumers what they want and need, they add more organic products to their inventory every day.

But how do consumers know if products are truly organic? Isn’t it possible that companies could simply claim a product is organic? Are there any regulations on organic textiles?

The answer is yes! The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is a third-party organization dedicated to ensuring organic products are, in fact, organically sourced, processed, and manufactured. 

What is the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)? 

The GOTS is an organization that mandates, evaluates, and certifies that organic products are produced and manufactured in an environmentally friendly and socially responsible way. 

A GOTS certification helps consumers verify the organic status of products, so they know they are buying an authentic organic good. 

Not only is the GOTS essential in assuring consistency in organic products, but it protects consumers from misinformation and moves the textile industry towards fairer, more socially and environmentally conscious decisions. 

At Mellanni, we are proud to offer organic cotton bedding options that are certified by the GOTS.

Why the GOTS exists

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to know for sure if a product is organic, even if it is labeled that way. 

Some companies claim that products are organic simply because a small portion of the item is made from organic material. 

Sometimes the raw materials used in a product are organic, but during the production process, the item becomes contaminated by non-organic fibers or chemicals.

The best way to be sure a product is truly organic is to look for a Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certification. 

This certification assesses the processing of an item through the entire textile supply chain, from the field all the way to the finished product.

GOTS certification criteria  

The GOTS is an independent certification. The ecological and social criteria for a company to gain this certification for their products is extensive and detailed. The GOTS does not play around when confirming the organic status of textiles and is touted as one of the toughest organic textile standard in operation.

Here is an overview of the most important measures for a product or garment to be labeled GOTS certified:

  • Organic farming process: the GOTS defines organic fibers (or organic fibres if you're in Europe, where the GOTS is based) as “natural fibres grown without the use of synthetic pesticides (such as insecticides), or herbicides and GMOs (Genetic Modified Organisms) according to the principles of organic agriculture.” For a product to receive certification, it must be constructed with a certain percentage (70%+) of organic materials. 

  • Employee rights and fair treatment: socially responsible manufacturing is an important part of the GOTS certification. This includes strict rules against child labor, guidelines for migrant workers, specifications about working time, and protection for workers against violence and harassment. 

  • Ecological and environmental guidelines: including the prohibition of environmentally hazardous chemical inputs and assessment of management processes such as wastewater treatment.

  • Ethical business practices: the companies seeking a GOTS certification must showcase ethical business practices such as having a code of conduct, accurate record keeping, protection for whistle-blowers, and lack of involvement in corruption, extortion, and embezzlement.

Why buy GOTS-certified products? 

“Organic”, “ethical”, and “sustainable” may seem like nothing more than a few buzzwords bouncing around in a trendy environment or a marketing campaign. But really, it’s way more than that. 

There are many global movements underway to move towards a fairer, environmentally friendly, and socially conscious chain of production, the Global Organic Textile Standard being one of them. 

On an individual level, choosing products that have been carefully and responsibly manufactured help to contribute to this cause. Doing your due diligence to ensure the products meet these standards is part of that personal choice. 

Opting to spend money on organic, sustainable, and ethical items is an investment in sustainable infrastructure. A GOTS certification helps provide credible assurance that you are, for certain, purchasing products that contribute to the overall goal of a more sustainable and ethical world. 

How can I tell if a product is GOTS Certified?

Products that are GOTS certified may contain a green GOTS label indicating that it is certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard, along with an indication of the percentage of organic material used in the product. 

Companies are also likely to advertise that their products are either GOTS organic or made with GOTS organic fibers. Most companies are proud to be certified (we certainly are!) and want consumers to know a sustainable option is available. 

How do products get GOTS approved?

The GOTS certification process is an in-depth and exhaustive process. This process includes:

  • A look at the bookkeeping of a company, specifically at the flow of potential GOTS goods

  • Visitation of processing and storage facilities

  • Assessment of identification and separation systems that could pose a risk to the organic integrity of a product

  • An inspection of any chemical inputs used in a product, such as dyes and auxiliaries, to ensure they comply with GOTS standards

  • An inspection of the waste-water treatment systems

  • Social criteria check, which potentially includes interviews with management or employees, reviewing personnel documents, on-site inspection, and more

  • Review of the risk assessment policies concerned with contamination and residue testing

Organic cotton

Organic cotton is one of the most popular types of organic raw materials used in constructing organic clothing and household products. Conventional cotton plants are often sprayed with harsh chemicals that are detrimental on a micro level (to the health of the consumer) and on a macro level (to the environment).

Products made from organic cotton are equally high in quality (if not higher), eco-friendly, and better for your skin, hair, and overall health. Those grounds alone are some pretty good reasons to ditch conventional cotton products and go organic instead.

What is greenwashing?

Greenwashing is a side-effect of more conscious consumers. Companies, taking note that many younger generations are looking for greener and more sustainable products, may be tempted to market their products using words such as "eco-friendly", "ethical", and "environmentally friendly." Greenwashing occurs when companies use this kind of language without any proof to back it up.

How to protect yourself from greenwashing

Greenwashing is avoidable by consumers doing their due diligence and checking that claims of sustainability are backed by evidence. A great way to do this is by checking for third-party verification or organic certification, such as from the Global Organic Textile Standard or IFOAM.

Final Thoughts

At Mellanni, we have a few excellent options for bed sheets that are made with care using GOTS-certified organic cotton fibers. Rest easy knowing that your sheets are sustainably sourced, made with socially responsible manufacturing, and constructed with the environment's safety in mind.

  • Our 100% Organic Cotton 400 Thread Count Bed Sheet Set is durable, stylish, and made with 100% GOTS-certified organic fibers. Finished with a sateen weave, these sheets are not only free from non-toxic chemicals and eco-friendly, but also a gorgeous addition to your bedding collection.

  • Treat yourself to comfortable, cute, and environmentally-conscious sheets this winter! Our 100% Organic Flannel Cotton Sheet Set, Heavyweight 180GSM is made with GOTS-certified organic cotton.


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