We’re so excited to inform that we received our GOTS, Global Organic Textile Standard, certification in May 2018, and I wanted to write a post to tell you more about this certification and what it means for our clothing at BYEM. GOTS is an internationally recognised standard for organic textiles which works independently to ensure the organic status of textiles from seed to final garment. This includes monitoring and guiding all stages of the fashion supply chain, from cotton seed to final garment. These stages include the sowing, picking, spinning, knitting, weaving, dyeing, finishing, as well as the manufacturing of the final garments. It even regulates how garments are handled after production for them to not touch any non-organic substances before reaching the customer. To be able to follow a textile to final garment, in each stage of the process a GOTS transaction certificate is issued. GOTS also requires brands to residue test their textiles, to double check that no toxic chemicals are found in them. Ultimately, they only certify textiles that have a minimum of 70% organic fibres although all of our certified garments have above 96% of organic fibres.
"GOTS is an internationally recognised standard for organic textiles which works independently to ensure the organic status of textiles from seed to final garment.”
GOTS does not only help to independently monitor the sustainability aspects of a supply chain but also social criteria as they also independently monitor and regulate against slave and child labour and instead work for the freedom for workers to unionize, to supply workers with living wages and regular employment. For more information on GOTS and social and sustainable requirements, you can find a general description here.
Why We Decided to Get GOTS certified
We choose to GOTS certify BYEM for a few different reasons. One reason was the benefit for us a small brand to have our supply chains independently monitored with regards to the sustainable and social criteria that we want all of our manufacturing processes to have, but that we don’t have the capacity to supervise ourselves at this moment. This can be difficult to do alone as a smaller brand but with GOTS, we have the proof of our social and environmental requirements are met with each transaction certificate. This creates a safety in our vision for BYEM as we have a guarantee that what we know about our clothing being ethically and sustainably made is true and independently monitored.
“…with GOTS, we have the proof of our social and environmental requirements are met with each transaction certificate.”
The GOTS certification has also helped further regulate what criteria’s we evaluate when it comes to choosing textiles and manufacturing partners and has encouraged us to implement a regular residue testing schedule of our textiles. This means that we can ourselves be guaranteed that our textiles have no banned chemicals or pesticides in them.
How Did It Go
To get certified, we first had to prove that we had the Transaction Certificates for the textiles we had used in our designs. This proved that the textiles used are also independently GOTS certified and follow the same social and environmental regulations. We had to independently test our textiles for banned chemicals and residue and as the results were negative we were one step further ahead in our certification project.
To ensure that our commitment would result in regular work towards a fairer future of fashion, we also set up a plan to test our textiles regularly, an ethical and sustainability supervisor at BYEM, and a risk assessment. We also improved our actions, with more monitoring in place and a better understanding of testing procedures. It proved to be a lot to learn, initially, there were a lot of new terms to understand but once we had received our GOTS certification, it arrived with a better and more holistic understanding of our supply chain and the work we do in it.
Final Words on Our Certification and Certifications in General
I find independently monitored certifications to be a great way to deepen your commitment to sustainable and ethical manufacturing measures and to avoid greenwashing. It’s easy to find suppliers who claim sustainable and ethical work principles but without regular (and irregular!) monitoring it’s hard to ensure that that’s how they actually work. Especially for smaller brands with fewer resources to spend on monitoring and visiting suppliers, even having the knowledge of what to monitor. At the same time, getting certified by an independent standard such as GOTS, Fairtrade Foundation or Oeko-Tex, also requires an investment of time and money but it gives back in so many rewarding ways. We feel proud to have received our GOTS certification to show our commitment to sustainable and ethical manufacturing processes and have truly felt the benefits of being a GOTS certified fashion brand. It has provided clarity in our environmental work, the guarantee in knowing that what we claim to be true about our collections, is true, and a broader understanding of the chemical aspects of the fashion supply chain. Nothing but amazing things in the end.
If you have any questions about this and the GOTS certification process, comment below and we’ll reply as soon as possible.
Our first collection, all in GOTS certified organic cotton and sateen.