Revisions include a prohibition on garment finishing methods considered harmful to workers (such as denim sand blasting), a requirement that any polyester in GOTS- certified products be made of post-consumer recycled material by 2014, permission for polypropylene to be used as an ‘additional fiber material,’ and more material options for accessories. In addition, the previous total ban on all chemical fabric finishes has been lifted; thus, most fabric finishes are now permitted but only if they meet the stringent general GOTS toxicity criteria.
Version 3 also requires that water and energy use reduction goals are developed and monitored and that social compliance management plans be put into place which will ensure that minimum social criteria are met. All companies wishing to be GOTS-certified must fully comply with Version 3 by March 1, 2012.
Key GOTS provisions already in place include a ban on the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), highly hazardous chemicals such as azo dyes and formaldehyde, and child labor, while requiring living wages and strict waste water treatment practices. At least 95 percent of the fibers must be certified organic for label grade ‘organic’ and 70 percent for label grade ‘made with organic’. GOTS was established in 2006 with guidelines announced in 2008.
According to the GOTS IWG public data base of facilities certified to GOTS, launched in early 2010, approximately 1500 companies with a total of 2,754 facilities in 54 countries around the world were certified to the organic apparel and textile standard by the end of 2010. The top twenty countries based on the number of GOTS-certified facilities are (in order of ranking): India, Turkey, China, Pakistan, South Korea, Japan, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, Bangladesh, France, Hong Kong, Mauritius, Peru, USA, Netherlands, Sri Lanka, Portugal, Greece, and Belgium. Countries in which facilities were certified to GOTS for the first time in 2010 included Finland, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Macedonia, Sweden, and Uganda.