GOTS – The Gold Standard of sustainable clothes

There are so many things to look out for when it comes to sustainable fashion. But it can also be as simple as sticking to seals that are a guarantee of sustainability. Like the GOTS seal, for example. The Global Organic Textile Standard is a globally recognised, strict standard for textiles from sustainable production including raw material cultivation. You can trust products with this seal with the white shirt on a green background, a clean slate, so to speak. Why?

The Global Standard set itself the goal of sustainable textile production when it was founded 16 years ago as a non-profit, independent institution. High time to take a closer look at it. GOTS focuses on the processing of textiles made from ecological natural fibres. The standard guarantees “ecological products from environmentally friendly supply chains”.

Ecological, social and ethical business aspects are required as sustainability for products with the GOTS seal. These criteria are checked along the entire value chain, from raw material cultivation to processing to production, packaging as well as trade and distribution. The holistic approach is what counts. Find out more in the video:



The standard has two labelling levels:

– “Organic” (“Bio”): The textile must contain at least 95 per cent organic fibres e.g. wool, cotton and linen.

– “Made with organic”: The textile must contain at least 70 per cent organic fibres. Organic fibres in conversion are also permitted with the corresponding marking on the label.

Why are organic fibres so important? The materials are biodegradable and can be further processed. The natural fibres have been grown according to the principles of organic farming, so their production does not require the use of synthetic pesticides, insecticides, herbicides or genetic engineering. Organic farming thus makes an important contribution: it preserves the health of ecosystems, soils and people.

In order to receive the GOTS seal, textiles have to pass many test criteria. On the one hand, there are environmental criteria, criteria for technical quality and human toxicity, and social criteria. Only if companies or products meet all criteria of the standard, they will be certified according to the GOTS.


– Separation of organically produced fibres vs. conventionally produced fibres

– Ensuring that chemicals have only been used if they meet or fall below minimum levels of biodegradability and toxicity

– Exclusion of problematic substances such as toxic shear metals and formaldehyde

– Use of oils etc. in production that are not harmful to health

– Waste water management, minimisation of waste water

– Accessories Plastic-free packaging, FSC or recycled labels


– Technical quality such as tear resistance

– Adherence to limits for undesirable residues along the entire chain


– Free choice of employment

– Freedom of association and right to collective bargaining

– Prohibition of child labour

– No discrimination

– Safe and hygienic working conditions

– Prohibition of rough or inhumane treatment

– Fair pay/wage differential to living wages

– Regulated working hours

– No precarious employment

– No migrant workers

All information about the standard can be found here.


Do these criteria also give you food for thought? Basically, it means that there are a lot of textiles out there that contain harmful substances that destroy the environment and people.

The GOTS seal is a good reference point for sustainable consumption. You can find it on the product label, in the online description and you can also look for it at some suppliers. The most sustainable way is to use the things you already own or to exchange clothes so that no new raw materials are used. If you do, then with a clear conscience and the GOTS seal.


Photo Copyright: GOTS 


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