Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 March 2016 11:27
Anyone who intends to sell, label or represent any textile product with the trademark registered GOTS logo, with GOTS labelling and/or any other reference to GOTS (certification) must first ensure that the respective criteria and licensing conditions of the Global Organic Textile Standard Program are met.
The GOTS quality assurance system requires that beyond the entire processing and manufacturing chain (from post-harvest handling up to sewing, packing and labelling) also B2B traders (= traders that sell to other businesses such as im- and exporters, wholesalers) must participate in the inspection and certification program before final products can be labelled as GOTS certified in order to provide a credible and consistent product assurance to the end consumer.
Although traders do not modify goods, they buy and sell organic textile products and represent a crucial link to achieve transparency and traceability in the value chain. The certification of traders is based on the verification of their product flow documentation. Certifiers trace the quantity of organic textile products through mass balance calculation of purchased and sold GOTS certified textiles to ensure that all products that are sold with GOTS certification claim are indeed correctly certified. Through the certification requirement for traders it can be assured that they become aware of the documentation required to verify the authenticity of GOTS certified products and so help to ensure the integrity of GOTS goods.
Brand holders and retailers selling GOTS certified final products that are received ready packed and labelled directly and exclusively to the end consumer are generally exempt from this certification obligation.
Further traders having an annual turnover with GOTS Goods less than 5.000€ are exempt from the certification obligation, provide they do not (re-)pack or (re-)label GOTS Goods. However such traders must register with an Approved Certifier and must inform the same immediately when their annual turnover exceeds 5.000€.
With the completion of GOTS certification by an Approved Certifier the Certified Entity acquires a sub-licence which entitles it to participate in the GOTS programme, including use of the standard and the GOTS logo on its respective GOTS Goods in accordance with the provisions of this labelling guide and as long as the certification remains valid.
Certified Entities, traders, brand holders and retailers who intend to get products labelled in accordance with GOTS and/or to sell labelled products (with the GOTS logo) need to contact their applicable GOTS certifier (to receive the applicable logo files and) for final approval of their labelling application. Approval for Labelling is administered through the use of the form Labelling Release for GOTS Goods, available for download here.
In all cases the GOTS labelling can only be applied to the product/packaging by a Certified Entity and must have been approved by the Certified Entity's Approved Certifier in advance of its application.
Traders, brand holders and retailers that are exempt from the GOTS certification requirement can ask their certified supplier to apply the GOTS labelling. In this case the labelling would be under survey of the GOTS certifier of the supplier and the supplier's license number would appear on the labelling. Alternatively they may decide to apply for certification on a voluntary basis and to have their own license number printed on their certified products.
Note: By entering the license number into the ‘free text field’ of our public data base the corresponding data set of the certified entity (that is entered by the applicable GOTS certifier) can be looked up.
For product marking the GOTS logo always must be accompanied by a reference to the applicable label grade, by a reference to the Approved Certifier who has certified the marked goods (e.g. certifier's name and/or logo) and the License Number of the Certified Entity. Accordingly the labelling contains the following elements:
Retailers (including mail order companies) that are not obliged to participate in the GOTS certification system can use the same GOTS labelling in catalogues and on web pages as it is used on on-product identification of the certified products they purchase. If the final products purchased do not carry on-product labelling, they must also not be presented, advertised or sold (in catalogues and wab pages) with any GOTS labelling or any certification references.
Important note: The GOTS licensing and labelling conditions do not permit to use the GOTS logo or any reference to GOTS certification on the garment / final textile product if the GOTS certification is valid for intermediate stages (such as yarn or fabric stage) or for specific components of the product only. GOTS labelling or referencing is also not permitted if the B2B traders in the supply chain do not participate in the certification system. Precondition for on-product label use is that the whole value chain and the final product is certified and that the intended labelling is explicitly approved by a GOTS certifier.
In addition to its application as identification mark for GOTS Goods, the GOTS logo represents the Global Organic Textile Standard as such. It may accordingly be used only in the appropriate and unambiguous context, such as for informative and advertising purposes by:
GOTS now permits the voluntary and limited use of the GOTS logo by suppliers of GOTS Additives. The use of the logo is subject to the payment of an Additive License Fee and is strictly limited to off-product publicity material detailed under section 3.4 of the Labelling Guide. Use of the GOTS logo by suppliers of GOTS Additives is administered by Approved Certifiers by way of the form Labelling Release for GOTS Additives, available for download here.
In addition to the certification cost each certified entity must pay an annual license fee. The license fee is set at 120 Euro for each facility that is inspected for the certified entity. Irrespective of related sales, this fee also covers the right to use the GOTS logo on certified textile products. License fees are collected by the Approved Certifier and transferred to the International Working Group.
The information provided with the previously issued sheet ‘Important information for companies who sell or advertise GOTS Goods’ has been updated and integrated in the new issue of the Licensing and Labelling Guide (as released on 01 March 2015). Accordingly the mentioned sheet is superfluous now and the Licensing and Labelling Guide should be used to understand all relevant licensing and labelling conditions.
The International Working Group investigates unauthorised, false or misleading use of the trademark registered GOTS logo or other claims related to GOTS (certification) on product declarations, in advertisements, catalogues or other contexts, and is concerned to take appropriate actions such as corrective and/or legal action and/or publication of the transgression so as to safeguard the credibility of the GOTS program and its labelling system.