In order to be classified as organic, textiles must fulfill all prerequisites in the production chain, from the raw fiber to the end product. Organic cotton is the material that is mostly used in the production of organic textiles. Other natural fibers like wool, flax, silk and hemp are also being used. Since the high demand for organic textiles cannot be fully covered by organically harvested raw materials, there are nowadays some synthetic fibers being used that are classified as organic, based on their environmental compatibility and their recycling properties.
The complexity of the organic textile production process motivated four leading organizations with expertise in organic farming and manufacturing processes to join efforts in establishing an effective and reliable system of quality assurance throughout the entire supply chain of organic textiles. The founding of the International Working Group on Global Organic Textile Standard (IWG) in 2002 and the subsequent introduction of the Global Organic Textile Standard scheme (GOTS) in 2006 are the results of such an initiative. The main goal of the IWG is to continuously harmonize the different existing quality standards in order to achieve a uniform standard for organic textiles worldwide. The German International Association of the Natural Textile Industry (IVN) is one of the four members working closely with organizations from the US, England and Japan to achieve this goal.
In Germany, the IVN is also responsible for certifying organic textiles with the established Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). The standard covers the certification of the raw material harvesting, processing, production, packaging, labeling, trade and distribution of natural fabrics. Companies interested in exporting their organic textiles to Germany must make sure that their natural fabrics meet all the GOTS requirements as it has become the leading processing standard for these products worldwide. Besides the GOTS seal, the IVN also offers two quality labels, the Naturtextil IVN and Naturtextil IVN Best. These seals are awarded to textiles that meet the strictest ecological and social production guidelines.