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The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), Explained

by: Well Made Clothes Staff | 4 weeks ago | Features

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Cotton is a fibre that we tend to use a lot of in fashion. It grows naturally, breathes well and forms the backbone of many staple garments – white T-shirts and denim jeans included. But not all cotton is created equal. In fact, according to the Cotton Advisory Committee (CAC), conventional cotton accounts for as much as 5% of all pesticides and 14% of all insecticides used globally. Despite occupying just an estimated 2.4% of the world’s land. Organic cotton, on the other hand, doesn’t use these toxic chemicals and is, therefore, more sustainable.

It can be difficult to know, though, which garments were made from organic cotton – especially if the materials tag does not specify. Fortunately, the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) makes this guessing game a little easier.

GOTS is the leading textile processing standard for organic fibres worldwide and it includes ecological and social criteria, which is backed up by independent certification of the entire textile supply chain. “The aim of the standard is to define worldwide recognised requirements that ensure organic status of textiles, from harvesting of the raw materials, through environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing up to labelling in order to provide a credible assurance to the end consumer,” GOTS explains.

Accepted in all major markets, this certification is one of the best to look out for if you want to buy clothes that are kind to the planet. Because a garment carrying the GOTS ‘organic’ label must contain a minimum of 95% certified organic fibres.

In other words, GOTS is the gold standard in organic cotton certification. And organic cotton is important, because it is grown using methods and materials that have a low environmental impact. Designed to reduce the use of toxic pesticides and fertilisers commonly used in conventional cotton production, this approach helps to replenish soil fertility and maintain biodiversity – rather than stripping the earth of these qualities.

There are strict standards regulating organic cotton classification, so if in doubt, look for the GOTS certification, to support more sustainable cotton production.

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