The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) turned five years old in 2011, adding 80 new companies and another country (Kyrgyzstan) to the list of those with GOTS-certified facilities, expanding particularly in developed countries, and receiving formal recognition by USDA. By year’s end, 2,714 facilities in 57 countries around the world were certified to the organic apparel and textile standard including 450 dyeing facilities, more than 220 spinning, knitting, and weaving units, and approximately 160 printing and manufacturing facilities, GOTS reports.
The Top Twenty countries in terms of GOTS-certified facilities include India, Turkey, China, Pakistan, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea (South), Bangladesh, United Kingdom, France, United States of America, Hong Kong, Greece, Peru, Switzerland, Austria, Netherlands, Belgium, and Portugal. While the top four countries remained the same, Austria and Switzerland were new to the top rankings. Overall, the ten countries with the greatest increase in facilities gaining GOTS certification in 2011 were: Germany, India, USA, Austria, Bangladesh, Switzerland, Greece, France, Belgium, and Denmark.
A milestone in the increasing recognition and acceptance of GOTS was reached on 20 May 2011, when the USDA released a Policy Memorandum confirming that textile products produced in accordance with GOTS may be sold as ‘organic’ in the USA. It further clarified that the use of US National Organic Program (NOP)-certified fibers and third party certification of the textile products is a prerequisite for use of the term ‘organic’ in labeling of such products. The USDA memo will also be useful internationally. “Explicit recognition of GOTS and its labeling system is the best way governments can regulate the organic textile sector,” said Herbert Ladwig, GOTS International Working Group IWG) Coordinator. “The US model is our recommendation and goal in negotiations with regulators in this sector.”
The GOTS IWG is made up of the Organic Trade Association (USA), Japan Organic Cotton Association, International Association Natural Textile Industry (Germany), and the Soil Association (UK). In addition to the five regional representatives worldwide appointed in 2010 to drive an increase in the awareness of and certification to GOTS, a new representative, Stuart McDiarmid, was appointed in 2011 to focus on growing awareness of GOTS in Australia and New Zealand. Sumit Gupta was appointed as the representative for India in March 2012.
A trailer for the short film “The Global Organic Textile Standard – Ecology and Social Responsibility” is available here . Copies in different languages can be ordered there by textile companies, educational institutions, and relevant organizations at no cost.