Textile processing, manufacturing and trading entities can apply for certification in accordance with the Global Organic Textile Standard. Entities that wish to become certified are requested to contact an appropriate GOTS approved certification body. These are entrusted with implementation of the GOTS quality assurance system and are able to provide information about the related procedures and timeline from the initial request through the inspection and certification process. They will be able to offer individual cost estimates for certification based on the operator’s location, size, fields of operation and other relevant factors.
In principle all GOTS-approved certifiers are entitled to offer related inspection and certification services worldwide and each applicant may choose its certification body. Some certifiers operate local offices or work with local representatives in various countries while others coordinate all services through their head offices. There are limitations regarding the accredited scope for which a certifier may offer GOTS certification. Certifiers of textile supply chain operators may be accredited to the following scopes:
Contact information for all GOTS-approved certifiers, their local representatives, a list of countries in which they currently have certified clients as well as their accredited scopes are listed in the section 'Approved Certification Bodies'.
The applicability of the GOTS certification system starts with the first processing step in the textile supply chain. In the cotton supply chain ginning is considered to be the first processing step, whereas the wool supply chain processing normally starts with scouring.
Organic fibre production is not directly covered by the GOTS certification system as GOTS does not set standards for organic fibre cultivation itself. Instead, cultivation of organic fibres is under the scope of the governmental organic farming standards (e.g. the EEC Organic Regulation or the USDA NOP). Organic fibres certified according to these recognised international or national legal standards are the accepted raw material inputs for the GOTS processing and manufacturing chains.
The GOTS quality assurance system is based on on-site inspection and certification of the textile processing and trade chain. In particular operators from post-harvest handling through garment-making as well as traders up to the wholesale stage have to undergo an annual on-site inspection cycle and must hold a valid certification as a prerequisite for final products (sold to retailers) to be labelled as GOTS-certified.
Processors and manufacturers that receive a GOTS operational certification have demonstrated to the assigned certifier that they are able to work in compliance with all applicable GOTS criteria in the fields of operations and for the product groups shown on their certificate. They may then accept orders for GOTS-compliant processing / manufacturing in their certified scope. Accordingly certified exporters-, importers and traders are authorised to trade GOTS textile products within the scope of the certification they have attained.
Entities that receive a GOTS operational certificate are free to advertise their certified status on the market. They must however avoid the impression that all of their products are certified, if this is not the case and ensure that no confusion arises between certified and non-certified products in any marking, publications and advertising. They also become listed in the public GOTS data base on this website.
Generally a company that is participating in the GOTS certification scheme needs to comply with all criteria of the standard. The assigned certifier makes use of appropriate inspection methods which may include but are not limited to the following key elements: