From Field to Fashion: The GOTS quality assurance system is based on on-site inspection and certification of the entire textile supply chain (processing and trade).
Operators from post-harvest handling up to garment making, as well as wholesalers (including exporters and importers), have to undergo an on-site annual inspection cycle and must hold a valid certification in order for the final products to be labelled as GOTS certified.
Any claim to be compliant to GOTS as the worldwide leading textile processing standard is invalid until an independent Certification Body has checked – through a set of inspection methods – and attested – through formally issued certification documents – that a product and its processor, manufacturer or trader is, indeed, GOTS compliant.
There are two types of such certification documents:
Scope Certificates (SCs) which proove that a supplier meets all criteria to be allowed to process GOTS goods and
Transaction Certificates (TCs) which proove that the goods themselves meet all GOTS product criteria.
See the GOTS Fact Sheets to find out:
Generally, a company participating in the GOTS certification scheme needs to work in compliance with all the criteria of the standard. The assigned certifier makes use of appropriate inspection methods.
On-site inspection and certification of processors, manufacturers and traders performed by independent specially accredited bodies is the basis of the GOTS monitoring system in order to provide a credible assurance for the integrity of GOTS certified textiles. Entities that wish to become certified should contact a GOTS approved certification body.
Certification bodies are entrusted with implementation of the GOTS quality assurance system and are able to inform you about the necessary procedures and timeline from the initial request through to inspection and certification. They will be able to provide an individual cost estimation for the certification based on the operator’s location, size, fields of operation and other relevant factors.
All GOTS approved certification bodies are entitled to offer related inspection and certification services worldwide and each applicant may freely choose their certification body. Some certification bodies operate local offices or work with local representatives in various countries, whereas others coordinate all services through their head offices. There are limitations regarding the scope for which each certification body is accredited to offer GOTS certification. Certification bodies of textile supply chain operators may be accredited to cover the following scopes:
Certified Entities may have to change their certification body for reasons, such as
GOTS has defined a Policy for Change or Migration of Certification Body, currently entailed in version 1.1 and available for download.
Processors, manufacturers, traders and retailers, which have demonstrated their ability to comply with the relevant GOTS criteria in the relevant certification procedure, done through an approved Certification Body, receive a GOTS Scope Certificate confirming that the holder is able to produce textile goods of the kinds listed on the Products Appendix of the Scope Certificate in conformity with the Standard.
Such companies are considered as GOTS certified suppliers. They are listed in the GOTS Certified Suppliers Database. The facilities and subcontractors that have been inspected and assessed for the certification are listed in the Facility Appendix of the Scope Certificate, although their names are not disclosed in the Certified Suppliers Database.
Whereas Scope Certificates declare that the Certified Entity is able to process the listed product categories under GOTS certification, they give no proof that specific shipments from this company contain GOTS certified products.
In order to attest that a specific shipment of products sold by a Certified Entity is GOTS certified, the Certification Body of the supplier issues a Transaction Certificate. This document lists the individual (batches of) products and relevant shipment details, including the buyer’s name and address, and declares that all goods listed under the shipment are GOTS compliant.
The buyer of the goods is entitled to receive the Transaction Certificate from the seller. The buyer uses those TCs as proof to their own Certification Body that GOTS certified products were used as an input to further processing or trading. Only with such proof can their Certification Body attest that the resulting products are GOTS compliant – provided that the buyer itself has a valid Scope Certificate and actually applies GOTS compliant processing/trading methods.
A specific challenge for the practicability of the TC system is that many suppliers generate huge numbers of shipments which may significantly increase the administrative burden and cost if a separate TC is issued for each shipment. To adequately address this issue, the policy for issuing TCs allows to cover multiple shipments on a single TC.
In a joint initiative GOTS and Textile Exchange (TE) developed harmonised policies and templates for transaction and scope certificates. The templates unify layout, format and text of both certificate types among the different certification bodies and standards. This will help all users, especially commercial buyers such as brands and retailers, which purchase goods certified to different standards from various suppliers, issued by different certification bodies to easily compare, handle and verify information provided with scope and transaction certificates issued to GOTS and any Textile Exchange standard.
The templates are to be used by the GOTS / TE approved certification bodies for any Scope and Transaction Certificates.
GOTS formulated a policy covering approval of formal consultance services to prospective or existing GOTS Certified Entities. Approved Consultants can offer consultancy services to the textile industry to achieve certification to GOTS.