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LONDON – The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) has announced new figures which show there are now more than 100 companies in the United States certified to GOTS, with certifications on the rise. Canada also now has eight certified facilities, while Mexico has three companies certified to the programme. GOTS certification achieved 25 per cent growth in North America from 2017 to 2018.

GOTS is a voluntary global standard for the entire post-harvest processing (including spinning, knitting, weaving, dyeing and manufacturing) of apparel and home textiles made with certified organic fibre (such as organic cotton and organic wool), and includes both environmental and social criteria. Key provisions include a ban on the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), highly hazardous chemicals (such as azo dyes and formaldehyde), and child labour, while also requiring social compliance management systems and strict waste water treatment practices.

According to the GOTS Annual Report 2018, worldwide there are now 5,760 GOTS certified facilities, an increase of 14.6 per cent from 5,024 facilities in 2017. Meanwhile, the number of workers reported in GOTS certified facilities grew to over 2.02 million (1.84 million in 2017) worldwide.

The figures come in a week when the Soil Association will published a policy report – Thirsty for fashion? How organic cotton delivers in a water-stressed world – which examines the ‘catastrophic and far-reaching’ impacts of growing and manufacturing non-organic cotton by drawing together years of research that shows the huge environmental, social and health benefits of organic cotton growing and processing.

Some of the sark figures in the report include:

  • Growing cotton accounts for 69 per cent of the water footprint of textile fibre production, where 1kg of cotton takes as much as 10,000-20,000 litres of water to produce.
  • The report claims that organic cotton reduces water consumption by as much as 91 per cent compare to conventional cotton production. [We would strongly question this claim! Please see our take on cotton and water-use issues here:
  • Around 20 per cent of all global water pollution results from the dyeing and finishing of textiles
  • Cotton production uses 2.5 per cnet of the world’s cultivated land, but accounts for 16 per cent of all pesticides used globally

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