What does it mean to be certified organic?The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is the worldwide leading standard for organic fibres, backed up by independent verification of the product’s supply chain – from the processing and manufacturing of the textiles right up to product licensing and labelling.
Getting organic certification ensures that buyers and consumers have complete transparency of supply chains in order to make better buying choices.
How to get organic certificationOrganic certification takes time and willingness – it’s not for the fainthearted but for those who truly care about the quality and standard of their products. Here’s the application process:
- Complete application and submit with payment and signed copy of contract.
- A designated Certification Officer (CO) is assigned to the case. They will review the application and guide you through the process.
- An initial inspection of your premises will be carried out. The inspector will confirm whether you are following the correct processes and procedures to receive organic certification.
- If they identify any areas where you need improvement, or the organic standards are not being met, this report will be raised and you will receive a summary of the actions you need to complete to ensure you are following the correct procedures.
- The CO will review any amends or actions you make, as well as the inspection verifications and all products/labels. These will be approved if no further information or actions are required.
- Your licence will be issued to you and, in turn, you will receive a copy of your organic certification!
What are the minimum requirements for getting organic certification?On our journey to getting organic certification, there were certain requirements we followed to ensure that our products were up to scratch. Below are the requirements the Social Association look for to grant organic certification to businesses – including the steps we took to meet them.
Fibres (GOTS 2.2.1 & 2.2.2)
Products must be made from at least 70% certified organic natural fibres. The remaining 30% cannot be made from conventional cotton, angora or virgin polyester. Textiles also cannot be constructed using a blend of standard and organic fibres. The material must be pure. Our products are made from 100% organic, traceable British wool, complete with unbleached cotton covers – no synthetics in sight.
Suppliers (GOTS 1.3)
Those who supply the unprocessed organic fibres must be certified organic. Direct suppliers, like wholesalers and traders, must also hold their own GOTS certification. At Woolroom, we use trusted and expert farmers to source our wool, with a traceable format that allows you to follow the product right back to the farm that the wool was sourced from.
Record Keeping (GOTS 2.4.12)
Records must be kept for all business operations so that processes can be traced back. For example, every incoming delivery must be recorded, production and packing records must be kept and there should be a record of everything that has been despatched.
Transaction Certificates (TCs) (GOTS 2.4.13)
Transaction Certificates (or ‘TCs’) are compulsory for all GOTS purchases as they ensure that all of the items produced have followed the guidelines and standards.
Separation (GOTS 2.4.1)
Organically certified fibres should be kept separately from conventional fibres to avoid contamination. Where organic and non-organic products are being sold, safeguarding should be put in place to prevent this from happening. E.g., at Woolroom, our Organic Washable, Chatsworth and Classic ranges are stored and processed separately.
Environment Policy (GOTS 2.4.10)
Businesses are required to meet national/local environmental policies in relation to water disposal etc. The energy usage per kilogram of textile produced should also be monitored. At Woolroom, we’re striving to becoming carbon neutral, which has started with the introduction of renewable energy sources into our office.
Social Policy (GOTS 3)
A measure of how well businesses are improving social performance in their company, and in the supply chain. This is based on the criteria of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
Chemical and Treatment Parameters (GOTS 2.4.14 & 2.4.16)
Risk assessments are required to ensure that the products are meeting the chemical and technical requirements – that will tell you how often you must test your products to ensure that you remain within these guidelines.
Labels (GOTS 1.4)
Anyone who sells, labels or represents any GOTS certified products must ensure that the logo is visible, e.g., on the packaging or care label. The logo should also always be paired with the applicable label grade, a reference to the Soil Association and the license number of the certified product. Labels must be submitted to the Soil Association Certification for approval.
Retail packaging should also be recycled or come from pre- or post-consumer waste, or contain any PVC. Not to worry – all Woolroom products come lovingly packaged in an all-natural, reusable calico bag.
How long does it take to get organic certification?You should allow for around 8-12 weeks from the start of your application. If you are outside of the UK, you should allow for an extra 3-4 weeks. If you want to shorten the process, provide as much detail as you possibly can and reply promptly to any requests – certainly don’t sleep on your application.
How much does getting organic certification cost?The Social Association will send out a document detailing all of the fees involved in getting organic certification once you request your application pack. There is an application fee for Year 1 and a certified sales declaration fee that comes into fruition from Year 2 onwards.
The journey was long, but we’re proud of everything we have achieved – and will continue to do right by our customers and the environment. Are you ready to unlock your full sleep potential? Check out the complete range of organic bedding online at Woolroom today – boasting all the benefits of wool, with all the Woolroom quality.