OTA and Textile Exchange (TE) have announced an important collaboration to strengthen the North American organic textile industry’s public policy influence and public relations efforts. The two groups have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to work together on legislative advocacy, public outreach and consumer education initiatives. The agreement was signed in conjunction with the recent formation of OTA’s Fiber Council, which was created to provide a cohesive voice across fiber categories within OTA and to grow the North American organic fiber sector overall.
According to OTA’s 2015 Organic Industry Survey, U.S. organic fiber sales were the fastest-growing non-food sector, reaching $1.1 billion in 2014, up 18% from the previous year. The leading organic fiber is cotton. In 2014, U.S. growers planted organic cotton on 18,234 acres—the largest number of U.S. acres devoted to organic cotton since 1995. According to Textile Exchange’s 2014 Organic Market Report, global sales of organic cotton products reached an estimated $15.7 billion in 2014, up 10 percent from 2013.
A major goal of this new partnership will be to boost outreach to North American consumers on the benefits of organic fiber and textiles, particularly the environmental and social benefits of growing and processing them. Much of the current demand for organic cotton currently comes from manufacturers and brands. With authenticity and transparency as key goals, brands are trying to position themselves to be responsible stewards —becoming more sustainable in their supply chains and more relevant in their core messaging.
Companies recently have reported significant growth in their organic cotton programs, and are increasingly adopting standards addressing fiber and/or product traceability, such as the Textile Exchange Organic 100 Content Standard or Content Claim Standard. Many manufacturers have also become certified to the Global Organic Textile Standard, a fully traceable global standard from farm thru processing (spinning, knitting, dyeing and manufacturing) of apparel and home textiles made with organic fiber. USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) has recognized GOTS as the platinum seal for finished organic fiber products and the counterpart to its more widely known organic food certification.
Under the agreement, OTA and TE will work together on legislative advocacy initiatives undertaken by the Fiber Council, advance organic fiber market messaging to consumers, promote awareness and education on both GOTS and the Organic Content Standard (OCS) and certification, develop and participate in media efforts to facilitate awareness and knowledge related to organic fibers, and develop and participate in various industry initiatives such as workshops, seminars and webinars.
certified operations continue to grow
The number of facilities certified to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) throughout the world reached 3,814 in 2015, up from 3,663 in 2014, with locations in 68 countries, up from 63 in 2014.
GOTS is recognized worldwide as the leading processing standard for textiles made with organic fibers. GOTS certification enables consumers to purchase items that are certified organic from field to finished product.
Countries and regions with the largest increase in GOTS certification during 2015 were India (+74), Europe (+58), Turkey (+27), and Bangladesh (+21). The top 15 countries in terms of total number of GOTS certified facilities are India (1,441), Turkey (489), Germany (306), Bangladesh (210), China (201), Pakistan (142), Italy (141), Portugal (89), South Korea (80), Japan (65), United States (60), France (56), United Kingdom (49), Austria (49), and Denmark (41).
GOTS was developed by leading international standard setters: OTA (United States), Japan Organic Cotton Association (Japan), International Association Natural Textile Industry (Germany), and the Soil Association (United Kingdom). For more information on the Global Organic Textile Standard, visit its website.
MOM’s: only GOTS certified textiles
MOM’s Organic Market now requires all organic textiles sold in its 14 stores to be GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified.
GOTS defines strict environmental and social criteria along the entire supply chain for textiles with an organic designation. To coincide with this policy, MOM’s has launched a campaign, Cotton’s Dirty Laundry, to highlight the environmental challenges of the conventional textile industry.
To kick off the campaign, MOM’s stores on January 23 provided complimentary GOTS certified socks to customers while supplies lasted. The GOTS certified organic items carried at MOM’s include clothing and mattresses. //