You’re probably hearing the words “organic,” “ethical,” and “sustainable,” now more than ever. Every product advertised this way should be made this way. Sadly, you can’t take these claims at face value. For some companies, these words are just marketing jargon, with no substance to back them up. So how can you be sure that products you’re buying are actually organic, and made in a humane and responsible way?
The easiest answer is to look for a GOTS label, which represents The Global Organic Textile Standard. It’s a single third-party certification that ensures a product is made the right way—not the easy way—at every single step. For us, it means products like our sheet sets are made from organic materials, in an environmentally friendly way by workers who are paid and treated fairly.
Becoming GOTS Certified was never a question for us, because it’s simply the better choice for the people, the planet and our customers. But obtaining this certification was no easy feat, and extensive for good reason.
What’s the Criteria for GOTS Certification?
As the leading textile processing standard in the world, GOTS has big goals and an extensive set of criteria needed to hit them. They want to make organic textiles the norm, and turn unforgiving supply chains into ones that prioritize the environment and workers’ rights. To accomplish this, they need companies to make radical changes or, like us, be established different from the very beginning.
Growing & Using Organic Fibers
GOTS wants to make organic textiles a significant part of our lives, and the first step toward that vision is growing the purest materials. For us, that means using organic cotton fibers grown the natural way—without pesticides, harsh chemicals or GMOs. This protects farmers, wildlife, soil and groundwater from dangerous chemicals and the unforgiving effects of long-term exposure.
To make sure materials are grown this way, GOTS partners with an organization called IFOAM Organic International, who inspects how farmers plant, grow and cultivate things like cotton. Any company seeking GOTS certification must first have their materials certified as organic by IFOAM. Once they are, these organic fibers can be processed, spun and woven into fabrics.
To make any GOTS Certified fabric, at least 70% organic fibers need to be used, and you can look for the percentage of organic materials on the label itself. If a GOTS label simply says “organic” with no percentage, though, that means that the product is made from at least 95% organic fibers—indicating a higher level of purity. Since we only source the finest 100% organic cotton, each of our products falls under GOTS’ stricter, more selective organic label.
Fair Treatment for All
Like us, GOTS wants to revolutionize the global supply chain. They want to empower workers who have been exploited for generations—earning incredibly low wages, working long hours in dangerous conditions, forcing child labor and countless other atrocities. Below, you’ll see a few (of many) mandatory social requirements for GOTS Certification. These are principles we’ve adopted and embraced since day one, helping rid the world of these common, deplorable practices.
- Working at Will - Employment is freely chosen at every step.
- No Child Labor - Adults only, the way every industry should be.
- No Discrimination - For men and women of all backgrounds.
- No Excessive Hours - Employees work to live, not live to work.
- Fair Wages for All - Every worker earns the pay they deserve.
- Better Workplaces - Inspected for health and safety standards.
- Worker Empowerment - Freedom of association and collective bargaining
Better for the Planet
The textile industry is not only a dark place for workers, but destructive to our planet and environment as well, especially when you compare organic cotton to conventional cotton. For starters, conventional cotton takes 90% more water to grow than organic cotton. Water is wasted and often goes untreated, causing chemical runoff and destruction to area wildlife.
Conventional cotton is also treated with some of the most harmful pesticides known to man, creating a breeding ground for things like cancer, infertility and neurological disorders. Here are just a few ways GOTS is protecting the planet and its people from devastation.
- Organic Materials - Are grown, harvested and inspected.
- Environment Management - Including proper wastewater treatment.
- No Hazardous Substances - Harsh chemicals and pesticides are prohibited.
- Restrictions on Added Materials - Strict limits on non-organic fibers.
- Quality Colorants and Shrinking Agents - Inspected for human and environmental safety.
Responsibly Made at Every Step
GOTS criteria starts at the seed, and doesn’t end until the final product is ready for you and your home. Every single step is tracked and traced: from growing and weaving to treating and trading. Ethical, sustainable and ecological standards are upheld throughout the entire process—ensure the highest-quality product, made in the most responsible way possible GOTS Certification is something that we committed to on day one and will never waver from.
Are their standards easy to follow? No. Are the benefits to our workers, customers and the environment worth it? Absolutely.