Global Organic Textile Standard

Textile Exchange is a strong supporter of GOTS, and we encourage all companies to strive to have their products meet this important standard.

The Global Organic Textile Standard is a comprehensive standard that allows companies to ensure that their organic fiber products are produced to very strict criteria relating to quality, tracking, and social and environmental considerations.

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OE Standards and GOTS: Quick Reference Guide

OE 100 and OE Blended Global Organic Textile Standard
Requires organic certification to an appropriate government standard at the farm level. Requires organic certification to an appropriate government standard at the farm level all the way to the finished goods and has additional requirements for worker safety, consumer safety, social criteria, and RSL/Chemical residues.
OE 100 only allows a minimum of 95% organic fiber (exclusive of threads or non-textile accessories). The remaining 5% cannot be cotton. To be labeled “organic” requires fiber to be at least 95% organic. (The remaining 5% can be conventional fiber, but not of the same fiber as the organic portion).
OE Blended requires at least 5% organic cotton content for the blended standard allowing the remaining fiber to be any fiber, including conventional cotton. To be labeled “made with organic” requires between 70% and 95% organic fiber content, and has restrictions on what the remaining fiber can be. Blending with conventional cotton is not allowed.
Currently only applies to cotton. Applies to all natural fibers.
Allows for in-conversion cotton (must be marked on tag). Allows for in-conversion cotton (must be marked on tag).
Tracks the fiber through the different processes. Tracks the fiber and also performs chemical residue testing.
More cost effective to obtain certification, but only covers fiber content. Requires increased commitment and cost, but is an all-encompassing standard.
Can apply to yarns, fabrics, garments and other fiber products. Can apply to yarns, fabrics, garments and other fiber products.

OE Standards and GOTS

The mission of Textile Exchange (TE) (formerly Organic Exchange, OE) is to catalyze global market forces to expand organic fiber agriculture. One of the goals that the TE Board of Directors has identified is to ‘establish a solid framework to ensure organic product integrity’. Texitle Exchange is actively doing this by creating tools and bringing together key players for education and training at every opportunity.

The market for organic fiber products is growing rapidly, and there has been a rapid increase in the number of companies involved. Our goal is to support this growth while protecting organic product integrity.

The Organic Exchange Standards (OE 100 and OE Blended) were developed to support organic product integrity by filling a gap in the market; companies needed a way to validate the presence of organic fiber in their finished products. At the time the OE standards were developed, there was no existing textile certification standard that covered only the handling and tracking of the organic cotton throughout the supply chain. Even with the development of the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), there was still a need for a standard that addressed the cases where GOTS did not apply, such as the blending of conventional and organic fibers, or the use of over 30% non-organic fiber content. Although the OE standards do not offer the same comprehensive coverage as GOTS, they do ensure integrity when organic cotton is being used, and allow the industry to continue to innovate and grow in many ways. This is particularly beneficial to farmers as it allows for increased use of organic cotton.

The OE standards may be used for different reasons:

  • As a stepping stone to GOTS (e.g. a certification to cover tracking and handling while supply chains organize themselves to comply with GOTS)
  • As the chosen standard to support a fiber-only claim where a company’s focus is purely on supporting organic farming, or they already have other social, environmental and quality processing standards in place
  • As a way to validate organic claims for products that cannot be certified to GOTS
  • As a means for companies to validate that they are getting the organic fiber that they are paying for, even if they do not label their organic cotton content
  • As a way to support to support organic farming and all the benefits it brings

The OE standards were developed with the input from an Advisory Committee consisting of certification experts from around the world, including representatives of the founding GOTS committee. We have hosted certification sessions at our various conferences during which we ask for input on our products and processes, and we continue to welcome any feedback that will make us more effective and promote greater security for the organic fiber market.

Texitle Exchange is fully committed to facilitating the sustainable growth of the organic fiber industry while focusing on product integrity. All of our efforts, from the OE standards and the tools we develop, to the meetings and trainings we hold, support this goal. GOTS is also key tool for supporting this goal, and our collective tools and efforts combine to build a healthy and sustainable market.