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What does it mean to be GOTS certified?

Welcome to the Blurry Planet of Sustainable Fashion

Sustainable, ethical, eco-friendly, fair, green, recycled, vegan, organic. The lines are often blurred when it comes to big sustainability claims that many fashion and clothing brands dare to make. With this jungle of blurry self-claim, how can you as a conscious parent and consumer make sure that the clothing you purchase is truly aligning with your values? Well, our friends over at GOTS are here to help!

GOTS - The Golden Standard in Sustainable Fashion

If you’ve been roaming the sustainable fashion world for a bit, you surely have come across the famous GOTS label. That is the one that shows a green circle with a white shirt and some additional writing. GOTS is short for Global Organic Textile Standard and is the gold standard in the sustainable fashion industry.

Why this standard came into existence is exactly due to the problem we were just discussing. Because what is a “sustainable” product anyway? Was it ethically made? Are the materials used organic? But are also all the people of every step treated fairly and decently? With GOTS as an international and common standard in place, it does not only give brands a clearly defined set of sustainable criteria to meet but also gives consumers the power, knowledge and transparency needed to make a conscious and informed purchasing choice.

The Global Organic Textile Standard was established by four different international organisations from the UK, USA, Germany and Japan who completed the first-ever certification in 2006.

How can brands become GOTS certified?

Becoming GOTS certified is definitely not a walk in the park. In order to become GOTS certified, every single step, starting from the fibre to processing and manufacturing all the way to the finished product is put under scrutiny by an independent certification body. Hereby, all aspects of sustainability are taken into account, which includes both the ecological and the social side of things.

To give you an idea, a simplified journey might look like this:

At every step, third-party inspection is taking place on-site which may even include independent interviewing and questioning of different people along the way to ensure that the highest standards are being met.

When it comes to the social criteria, everything is based on the key norms of various workers and human rights organisations, including the International Labour Organisation (ILO), United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). All processors, manufacturers and traders of every step must adhere to these norms in order to be GOTS certified.

On top of that, there is an entire checklist of dos and don’ts for fibre production, chemical management, water usage, waste management and various other parameters to ensure that environmental standards are being met.

As you can imagine: becoming a GOTS certified brand is definitely not an easy undertaking! And once a brand has been certified, it doesn’t stop there as recertification has to be done on an annual basis. In addition, the standard is being revised and updated every couple of years which makes certification increasingly difficult.

How can you be sure that a brand is truly GOTS certified?

But hold on, is it not possible for any random brand to advertise themselves as GOTS certified? The short answer is a simple no. GOTS is trademarked and as such, only truly GOTS certified brands are allowed to use the GOTS certificate. In fact, to make it even easier to recognise whether a brand is certified, every GOTS certificate is unique! There are two different grades of GOTS certificates that you may come across, depending on the fibre composition of the respective product.

The first grade states “organic” and certifies products that use 95-100% of organic fibres.

The second grade states “made with [x] % organic materials and is for products that are made with 70-94% of organic fibres.

Lastly, you may occasionally also come across combined products that are partly GOTS certified.

At Maxomorra, for instance, all of our products carry the first type of certification as everything, apart from our sustainable swimwear, is made of 95% of organic cotton and 5% elastane for additional comfort.

To verify a GOTS certification, you can simply hop onto the GOTS website and look up the licence number. That way, full credibility is guaranteed at all times.

In short: What Does it Mean to be GOTS certified?

When you come across a brand that has a valid GOTS certificate and is mentioned in the GOTS database, then you can be certain that they are truly made with organic fibres and that their entire supply chain meets the highest social and ecological standards. A GOTS certified product is, therefore, a sustainable choice and a guarantee that no greenwashing is taking place.

Interested in discovering GOTS certified clothing? Click here to get to our Store Finder and find your favourite Maxomorra reseller. We, at Maxomorra, are proud to be a fully GOTS certified brand since 2012, being the first-ever Swedish childrenswear brand to have ever received this certification.