The management of GOTS, the Global Organic Textile Standard, have pledged to tighten the rules for cotton producers and suppliers to crack down on fraud in the supply chain.

GOTS has announced that it is “significantly” raising its requirements for cotton gins seeking to be certified, on top of existing checks and balances which are already performed throughout every processing stage.

It is introducing a compulsory farm-gin registry for all farms and farm groups whose certified raw material enters the GOTS system, including information on farm yields. The registry will be implemented progressively, starting in India.

It is also bringing in a new rule that raw cotton cannot travel more than 500 kilometres from the farm to the certified gin. The shorter trade chain will protect vulnerable points and improve the process for buyers.

GOTS also intends to increase its number of unannounced visits to carry out gin audits where there is a high perception of risk.

GOTS managing director Rahul Bhajekar said: “GOTS has always been a dynamic standard, developing and expanding to be stronger and more effective all the time. We are looking forward to these new rules further strengthening GOTS against potential fraud.”

GOTS has been cracking down on fraud after discovering fake organic cotton carrying the GOTS certification in the supply chain. In 2020, GOTS accreditation body IOAS detected fake Raw Cotton Transaction Certificates (TCs) for cotton coming from India.

GOTS evaluates the processing and manufacturing of textiles on the basis of environmental and social criteria, from the chemical inputs being used to the ethical treatment of workers. There are two GOTS label-grades: “organic” requiring a minimum of 95% organic fibres and “made with organic materials” requiring at least 70% organic fibres.

GOTS was founded by The Soil Association in the UK with the Organic Trade Association, Internationaler Verband der Naturtextilwirtschaft and Japan Organic Cotton Association.