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Sustainable Fashion: What Does The GOTS Label Mean?

If you care about sustainable fashion, you’ve probably heard about the GOTS label. It might be even the determining factor driving your conscious shopping choices. And rightly so, since GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) is a globally renowned certification, used in the production of organic textiles. The certification defines both environmentally friendly requirements along the entire textile production chain, as well as fair social standards. So what about products that don’t carry the GOTS certification, and yet claim to be sustainable, fair and organic? Shouldn’t they be trusted? And shouldn’t we actually strive for a world in which the standard is just the bare minimum?

In this article, we clarify what exactly the standards of GOTS are all about, which of our products carry the GOTS certification, and why we’ve created our own high standards of transparency and sustainability with the SANVT quality label.

What does Global Organic Textile Standard stand for?

Background

Let’s have a closer look what the values of GOTS are: GOTS stands for a fair and sustainable standard in the production of textiles and has been determined by four international member organizations since 2006. The certification is without question one of the most relevant sustainability labels in the fashion industry and contributes significantly to ecological and social improvements in the industry. That’s why GOTS is referred to as the gold standard for sustainable and fair fashion. But what exactly is considered fair and sustainable according to this standard?

Requirements for a GOTS certificate

First of all, to be GOTS certified, a product must prove that at least 70% of its fibers are natural and from organic agriculture. So far so good! But this alone is not enough to meet the sustainability criteria of the GOTS certification. In order to be thoroughly sustainable and fair, the entire production chain and manufacturing must be held accountable. This means strict controls, such as on the chemicals that may be used in the production, as well as the fulfillment of requirements against wastewater treatment – and continuous efforts to reduce water and energy use in general.

The certification process of GOTS

In the GOTS certification process, social factors must also be looked at – based on the main principles of the International Labor Organization. These social factors include safe working conditions and the prohibition of discrimination and child labor. Incidentally, during regular examinations, independent inspectors throughout the entire production chain monitor the way people are treated, so that the high GOTS standards can be guaranteed at all times. And although GOTS has made quite an impact on sustainability initiatives in the fashion industry, with nearly 7,000 registered and certified companies, the question remains whether that standard should be considered as the gold standard for humanitarian, environmentally friendly and sustainable textile production. Or should we strive for GOTS to become the norm instead, rather than the highest standard?

At SANVT we strive for more sustainability with our SANVT quality label.

Going beyond GOTS

Although some of our SANVT items are already GOTS certified, we believe that it’s possible and even obligatory to go beyond this certification in order to create even more transparency, fairness and sustainability in fashion. Our intention is to be as conscious as possible in our actions towards people and the environment – and therefore, we were simply not satisfied with the gold standard of GOTS alone.

Sustainable quality

That’s why we’ve created the SANVT quality label as a symbol and guarantee of our own high standards. These standards include both the use of the finest materials, and responsible production at all levels. In addition to our fair manufacturing with certified family businesses in Western Europe, our 100% plastic-free packaging, biodegradable and recyclable natural fabrics, such as ELS and organic cotton, we also pay attention to quality and high-end workmanship for true, long-lasting sustainability! And because SANVT offsets all of its CO2 emissions, we are also a climate neutral company, and we actively support non-profit organizations and reforestation projects.

Here you can read more about our sustainable and fair production.

Which SANVT products are made from sustainable cotton?

In addition to our SANVT quality label, our heavyweights (t-shirts and longsleeves) are made from certified natural fabrics – this includes the organic cotton, yarn and knitting/weaving, as well as our environmentally friendly dyeing process. Additionally, our Oxford shirts are organic from A to Z: the entire product, from its fabric to its production facility.

Here you can find our Heavyweights – crafted from organic fabrics:

Our unisex GOTS certified Oxford Shirts from SANVT.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the GOTS certification is definitely a wonderful initiative that makes environmentally conscious and fair shopping in the fashion industry easy and transparent. That said, when it comes to non-GOTS certified products, you have to be careful that you don’t fall for greenwashing campaigns by big corporations. Unlike in the U.S., where “organic” is also a protected term in the fashion industry and may only be used with the GOTS label, the same term is being marketed broadly elsewhere in the world – even with the smallest amount of organic cotton in an otherwise synthetic product coming from an unethical production chain.

So in any case, it’s always a good idea to do your own research to double- and triple-check any fashion brand’s commitment to sustainability and social fairness. Because let’s face it, most companies are just doing the bare minimum – if making any effort at all. At SANVT, we hope that the current gold standard from the GOTS certificate will eventually evolve from a “nice to have” to a must for the fashion industry. Because, anything below that standard should be a deal breaker anyway!

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