For the first post on our “Shopping for sustainable fabrics” we are starting with a brief look at GOTS Certified Organic.
The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is a regulatory body which ensures that any clothing or textile with the GOTS label has followed their strict environmental and social guidelines. The illustration below details the stages involved in textile and clothing production, GOTS organic vs. non organic. You can see the many benefits of purchasing Organic rather then Non Organic products.
- From the Field to Fashion -
GOTS Organic Cotton pros……
Farming – Farmers are given more control over farming. Farming practices give consideration to the long term condition of soil. Farmers can grow food safely on their farms.
Chemicals – The use of pesticides during farming are banned. This protects farmers from health related pesticide medical complications. “All chemical inputs such as dyestuffs and auxiliaries used must meet certain environmental and toxicological criteria.” (GOTS)
Water Consumption / the Environment – “A functional waste water treatment plant is mandatory for any wet-processing unit involved” (GOTS). GOTS monitor energy and water use with the aim of utilizing as little as possible.
At the Factory / Social – Regular checks are conducted under GOTS guidelines, Social welfare of the workers is considered. e.g. no child labour, no forced labour, workers should be paid a fair wage.
The more Informed Consumer – The consumer has a better idea of the standards under which their clothing is produced. They have a better idea of how safe their clothing is. e.g. no nasty chemicals hidden in clothing. They have a clearer environmental and social conscience.
GOTS Organic Cotton Cons……
It is important to note that there are still problems with Organic cotton. e.g. cotton water consumption has massive environmental and social implications. This is the major concern with the production of cotton. Consumer issues for organic cotton centre on the fact that it is more expensive to purchase (but really you are paying for a product which is more ethically, socially and environmentally responsible). There is also not such a wide range of colours as many non organic colours involve the use of chemicals.
My personal thoughts and experiences of GOTS
As with anything, I always believe that it is important to have a critical eye open to any company. I am not saying that GOTS has a perfect model, but I am saying that it is definitely a great step forward in moving towards a more sustainable fashion industry. For me, GOTS products have allowed me to start my small fashion label, in a sustainable way. I have 2 fashion related businesses (sleepwear and screen printing) where I utilise GOTS products. I have had no complaints and always loved the quality of the fabrics. Thumbs up to GOTS from “Fickle Sense” and “i give 2 hoots”.
You can find more information on the GOTS website. Below you can find a nice short documentary which explains the GOTS processes.
Soon, I will also be adding suppliers and designers who use GOTS products to the ‘i give 2 hoots’ Eco Supplier and Designers pages.