GOTS: Roundtable in the USA
A group photo of the participants of the GOTS roundtable.
At the end of February, the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) organised a roundtable on the “Business case of a GOTS certification” in Charleston, South Carolina for the US textile industry. Such roundtables are held around the world to connect stakeholders, define challenges and opportunities, and seek feedback on sectoral or regional requirements. GOTS invites representatives of brands, trade, textile manufacturers, organic certification bodies and organic cotton farmers. The topics of the presentations and discussions were the general growth of GOTS in 2017 (especially in the clothing and home textiles industry), the integrity of the textile value-added chain, current and future markets and opportunities for international cooperation.
Gwendolyn Wyard of the Organic Trade Association (OTA), one of the four founder organisations of the GOTS, spoke about the overlaps of GOTS with the national organic standard of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). Monique Marez reported on the results of an OTA consumer survey, "why today's millennial is an ecologically aware parent of tomorrow". Best practice examples, e.g. how GOTS strengthens the US textile and clothing industry, were introduced by Marci Zaroff (Metawear) and Eileen Mockus (Coyuchi) – both pioneering companies in the USA. In addition, Angela Wartes-Kahl of the Oregon Tilth Certification Organization (OTCO), one of the GOTS-accredited independent certifiers, talked about how companies can protect themselves from greenwashing through a "third party certification". "It has been a truly inspirational experience to see the commitment and enthusiasm of the participants, as well as the strong support from the organic cotton farmers through to the mainstream brands that have chosen GOTS," commented Lori Wyman, a GOTS representative in North America.
GOTS is recognised as the world's leading standard for all processing (from post-harvest techniques to spinning, knitting, weaving, dyeing, outfitting and finishing) of apparel and home textiles made of organic fibres (such as organic cotton and organic wool) and defines environmental and social criteria along the entire textile value-added chain. In May 2011, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) officially recognized a GOTS certification for the correct labelling of a product with the label grade organic. The GOTS certification allows consumers to buy products that have been inspected from the field to the finished product by an independent party. More information on GOTS (including a free database that can be used to verify GOTS certification information) is available at: www.global-standard.org