October 30, 2020
Textile Exchange has been working in collaboration with the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) for many years in both policy alignment as well as being recognized as an acceptable input into our Organic Content Standard (OCS). Recently, an investigation by GOTS resulted in the discovery of fraudulent organic cotton. The full press release from GOTS can be found here.
Textile Exchange worked collaboratively with GOTS and they provided the transaction certificate numbers that were withdrawn. Textile Exchange notified our certification bodies of the fraudulent transaction certificate numbers. The certification bodies were then required to notify all certified site clients that used these transaction certificates as inputs.
Another consequence of the investigation was that the related companies involved in the fraud were banned by GOTS and have also been banned by Textile Exchange. A certification body involved has also had its licensing contract with Textile Exchange terminated. The full Textile Exchange banned list is always available here https://textileexchange.org/documents/list-of-banned-organizations/.
As standard-setting bodies, Textile Exchange and GOTS set the rules for the standard that certification bodies then enforce through an auditing protocol. To remain unbiased, both Textile Exchange and GOTS do not have the authority to directly grant or withdraw certification of sites or their transaction certificates – this remains solely with each certification body. However, both standard-setting bodies authorize accreditation bodies to monitor and assess the certification bodies, and it was through this assessment process that the fraud was detected.
This is a positive sign that the assurance model did detect the deficiency before the product was processed further. Any withdrawn transaction certificates may not be used as inputs for GOTS or OCS products, thus stopping the products from being further certified by another transaction certificate. Of course, banned companies cannot be certified at all.
For Textile Exchange, the use of standards drives the adoption of best practices and elevates the value of the finished product by protecting the intrinsic value of the fiber and delivering confidence to consumers.
Click here for a statement from Textile Exchange’s Organic Cotton Round Table Steering Committee on this detection of fraud in organic cotton
If you have questions, please submit them to Assurance@TextileExchange.org.
Textile Exchange Resources
Organic Cotton Producer Directory – https://textileexchange.org/organic-cotton-producer-directory/
A World Beyond Certification: Best Practice for trading models – https://store.textileexchange.org/product/kering-textile-exchange-a-world-beyond-certification/