These days the acronym GOT is on everyones lips, understandably. We're looking forward to the climactic final season and as I'm writing this with -20 degrees on the other side of the window it feels like "Winter Has Come" to Norway. Not quite following? Look up "Awesomest fantasy series of all time" and you'll be face to face with HBOs Game of Thrones.
Today, however, is not about GOT but rather GOTS, short for Global Organic Textile Standard. Global Standards are more important today than ever. Why is that?
Lets take a quick trip back to School, High School & University. Remember the citing of sources? Footnotes? All those footnotes... Grab a quote from somewhere? Put a mini number beside it and show us where you got it. Oh, and you´d better show your source in the correct order... Showing exactly where you got your information was of course to avoid plagerism. We all became extremely apt at the art of rephrasing to avoid the extra hassle of a footnote. Maybe even rephrase it a bit wrong to show "authenticity". Just as a 96% on a math test is better when cheating than a 100%.
Game of Thrones? High School? What has this got to do with Organic Clothing?
Here it comes; Liers and cheaters are everywhere and given the opportunity to make money they come running. Hugin being the young, naiv and blue-eyed clothing "company" it is, we are spring pickings for these wolves. Our trust in other people, their words and promises has left us with boxes of products we can't with a good concience put out into the world. A few hard lessons I'm glad we learned now at this early stage with lower stakes. We want to be proud of everything bearing the Hugin name and to achieve this we are thankful to have found the GOTS (other standards we abide by will get their own posts, such as OEKO-TEX 100).
"The GOTS is recognised as the world's leading processing standard for textiles made from organic fibres. It defines high-level environmental criteria along the entire organic textiles supply chain and requires compliance with social criteria as well."
GOTS is comprised of four reputed member organisations, namely OTA (USA), IVN (Germany), Soil Association (UK) and JOCA (Japan), which contribute to the GOTS, together with further international stakeholder organizations and experts, their respective expertise in organic farming and environmentally and socially responsible textile processing.
Can anyone be GOTS certified?
Well, yes, as long as you're a textile processing, manufacturing or trading entities. These whom wish to "bear the GOTS mark" must pay an anuall certification fee which is customized to each appliant based on the operator’s location, size, fields of operation and other relevant factors. In addition there's an annual licensing fee.
As an additional help for us "looking for great and eco-focused manufacturers"-types the GOTS site provides a list of certified manufacturers. This is great since pretty much every manufacturer is "eco-friendly" "organic" "worker-orientated" "insert your own USP here" and it can be quite difficult to cut through the bullshit.
Can anyone be a GOTS certifier?
"Certification bodies must demonstrate their qualification and expertise in the field of organic textile quality assurance prior to their approval in an accreditation process specifically developed for GOTS. Accreditation is conducted by valid accreditation body such as the main partner for this process, International Organic Accreditation Services (IOAS). GOTS approved certifiers must adhere to defined requirements related to qualification of staff, advanced training, content of their inspection protocol and other related quality aspects."
We haven't yet landed on the optimal set of manufacturers for our current or near future situation and our list of requirements and goals are so stringent that a plethora of options existing and non-existing are constantly being reviewed. Oh, yeah, we have starting punching the numbers for manufacturing in Norway only importing the raw fabrics we need (bamboo unfortunately doesn't grow too well here). For this to see the light of day we'll have to convice some of the largest established norwegian brands to join in the dream. Our sales pitch for this is in the works. As I'm writing this (18.01.2019) we are using two different Chinese manufacturers, first of whom we visited and will write about in a seperate post. The second we started found after our last visit and haven't had a chance to see in person yet. They have done really great work, but we found a comparable manufacturer in just over the pond, in England, that we are looking to transfer to because of the obvious shipping distance issue. Sometimes you have to "kill your darlings" (creative figure of speach) and hopefully Good 'Ol Britain will become a new darling.
Thank you so much for your precious time!
Read more about their Aim and Criteria here: https://www.global-standard.org/the-standard/general-description.html
1. Global Organic Textile Standard, Ecology & social responsibility. May 2017. The Standard. [https://www.global-standard.org/the-standard.html]. Accessed January 18, 2019.
2. Global Organic Textile Standard, Ecology & social responsibility. Aug 2018. Conditions for Certification Bodies. [https://www.global-standard.org/certification.html]. Accessed January 18, 2019.