How meaningful is this certificate?
The Global Organic Textile Standard-(GOTS) certification bodies have made it their business to evaluate products made from natural fibers according to authoritative standards such as quality, environmental friendliness but also “social friendliness”. In order to check whether, for example, promotional textiles – be it a textile print bearing a special logo, a corporate garment or a new club uniform – have also been produced in an ecologically and socially compatible manner, there are binding standards, compliance with which is checked on an ongoing basis, i.e. in the annual inspection cycle. From the extraction of the raw fiber, through production, finishing and packaging, to the labeling of the end product and the behavior of retailers, no step in quality assurance is to be skipped here.
This global and highly demanding certification option was introduced in 2005 and has been revised and optimized several times since then. The current version 5.0 is from March 1st, 2017.
The extensive assessment catalog
As soon as a textile product, e.g. your textile print, consists of at least 70% biologically controlled natural fiber, it can be checked for compliance with these internationally recognized certification standards.
Very important are the social factors, the standards of which are set by the International Labor Organization and for which a social management system is responsible. The free choice of employment should prevail here against any form of forced labor. Child labor is, of course, prohibited. A minimum wage and working conditions that ensure safety and hygiene are required. No excessive working hours and protection against discrimination are also on the realization plan, as is the prohibition of rough or inhumane treatment of workers.
Equally decisive is the environmental friendliness of raw material processing through to packaging. The GOTS label “organic” or “kbA/kbT” would mean that a product consists of 95% certified organically produced natural fiber.
Textile goods marked with the GOTS label “made from x% kbA/kbT fiber” originate from at least 70% controlled organic cultivation. If a farm is in the process of converting from conventional to organic farming, the words “-in conversion” are added to the certificate.
All chemical additives of the textile make, whether it is club clothing or the company clothing or other textile prints, must be declared and are tested for harmfulness. Formaldehyde, heavy metals, aromatic solutions and other problematic substances must be completely banned from this form of environmentally compatible production. Bleaching is approved on an oxygen basis only. Azo dyes must not be used. The disadvantages caused by waste and waste water are to be kept to a minimum.
Packaging must in any case be without PVC and for paper and cardboard packaging insist on FSC or PEFC certification.
Of course, the quality of the promotional textile product itself, such as stylish club wear or chic corporate apparel, is included in the evaluation. Technical aspects, such as tear resistance, sufficient light and wash fastness, suitability for welding and stress, as well as the permissible shrinkage values during the wash cycle, are not ignored. Particular care is also taken to ensure that no substances toxic to humans remain in the end product.
If you have any questions about the process or the cost of the inspection procedure for the internationally valid certificate, you can also obtain information from the GOTS-approved certification bodies.