The new version of the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) released includes new requirements for chemical formulators, makes changes to the addition of regenerated and virgin synthetic textile fibres and has added a completely new section on ‘migrant workers.’ Version 6.0 of GOTS, which is updated every 3 years, covers the processing, manufacturing, packaging, labelling, trading and distribution of all textiles made from at least 70 per cent certified organic natural fibres.
The latest version of GOTS strengthens its environmental and social criteria for sourcing organic textiles with new updates after consultation with list of stakeholders including textile organisations, NGOs and consumer interest groups. The main changes include new rules for textile chemical formulators who need to undergo and environmental management system and safety audit of their premises with on-site inspection performed for the first year and then every third year.
There’s also a newly released test protocol ISO/IWA 32 for the GM screening of cotton which serves as the recognised screening method of GMO presence; and changes related to the addition of regenerated and synthetic fibre content for socks, leggings and sportswear. There’s also a specific reference to ‘mulesing’ within animal welfare standards, and synthetic fibres (like PVA), that are dissolved at later processing stages, can no longer be used in spinning.
GOTS has made significant changes to its social criteria through the inclusion of ‘more dynamic elements’ where certified entities now need to calculate the gap of actually paid wages to ‘Living Wages’ and work towards closing this gap. Specific references to OECD Due Diligence Guidance and Good Practice Guidance for Social Criteria and Risk Assessment as well as Ethical Business Practises have been explicitly included.
Additionally, GOTS says that product quality standards for both colourfastness and fabric dimensional stability are now mandatory with specific new requirements for feminine hygiene and food contact textiles included for the first time.
“The GOTS Version 6 progressively furthers our mission,” says Rahul Bhajekar, GOTS Managing Director and Coordinator Standards Committee. “Pursuant to one of the most prolific comment periods in its revision history, GOTS continues to mature in scope, following keen consultations within the GOTS Standards Committee, external experts and inputs from stakeholders.”
The transition period for users of GOTS to fully comply with the new version will be one year. The Standard Version and the corresponding Implementation Manual, as well as the list of changes, are available on the website and can be downloaded.