When we decided to launch Aiayu’s cotton product universe, we knew we wanted to do it “differently”. We selected GOTS because it has strict social, environmental, and chemical standards at every step of the way until the product gets to the final customer. Getting GOTS certified is a time intensive process, but the confidence it provides us and our customers means it is absolutely worth it.
All GOTS cotton begins with organic farming. In order for a product to be GOTS certified, the raw material must come from a farm that is certified organic, or in transition – which means it is in the process of switching from conventional to organic agriculture. Aiayu exclusively uses organic, rainfed cotton that is grown without toxic fertilizers, pesticides, or insecticides.
Most material certifications, like Organic Content Standard (OCS) or Fair-Trade Cotton, have a lot of important criteria at the farm level, but after the cotton leaves the farm, they simply trace it through the supply chain to make sure it ends up in the final product you are buying. This is a first great step, but we wanted more.
After leaving the farm, GOTS has a long list of banned chemicals and substances that are not allowed to be used at any time. This means that anything added to a GOTS product – like dyes, finishes, or even hang tags – must be GOTS approved and safe for consumers, the environment, and textile workers.
GOTS monitors each step of the supply chain to make sure that all local and national environmental laws are being followed. This due diligence is extra important during dyeing, where massive amounts of chemical waste and polluted water are potentially released.
All GOTS certified facilities need to have highly effective wastewater treatment and recycling systems that protect local ecosystems and communities from pollution. Lastly, GOTS has social compliance criteria that must be followed at every stage, ensuring people earn fair wages and have safe and respectful workplaces.
GOTS vs. 100 Standard by OEKO-TEX®
There are so many certifications out there and it is not easy to tell them apart – let alone to know which ones are stronger in what areas. To help with that, we decided to compare two that are often used in cotton products: GOTS and 100 Standard by OEKO-TEX®.
Understanding the Difference
100 Standard by OEKO-TEX® works to ensure product safety by thoroughly testing finished products for toxic substances, dangerous residues, and chemical concentrations. Textiles are tested in a third-party lab to ensure that “every component (…), i.e. every thread, button and other accessories, has been tested for harmful substances”.
Oekotex and GOTS share a strong chemical safety criterion, but Oekotex is exclusively focused on the safety of the end-product and consumer. Unlike GOTS, Oekotex does not have environmental or social demands for the rest of the supply chain, nor does it require that raw materials are organic. So while Oekotex is a strong product safety standard, it should not be considered an environmental or social certification.
How to Check
In order for a brand to sell and advertise their products as GOTS certified, they must undergo the certification process themselves. If you are unsure if something is a GOTS product, look to see if it has a GOTS logo and license number on either the hang tag or care label. You can also check if your favourite brands are certified by searching them by name or by their license number on the supplier lookup database on the GOTS website: https://global-standard.org/find-suppliers-shops-and-inputs/certified-suppliers/database/search
For example, here is Aiayu’s GOTS logo and license number which you can use to look us up on the GOTS database: