The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) has reached a number of milestones in the five years since it was set up, with latest highlights including the addition of 80 new companies and the country Kyrgyzstan to the list of those with GOTS-certified facilities.

By the end of 2011, its fifth year, 2,714 facilities in 57 countries around the world were certified to the organic apparel and textile standard. These include 450 dyeing facilities, more than 220 spinning, knitting, and weaving units, and around 160 printing and manufacturing facilities.

The top-20 countries in terms of GOTS-certified facilities include India, Turkey, China, Pakistan, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea (South), Bangladesh, United Kingdom, France, United States (US), Hong Kong, Greece, Peru, Switzerland, Austria, Netherlands, Belgium, and Portugal.

While the top four countries remained the same, Austria and Switzerland were new to the top rankings. Overall, the ten countries with the greatest increase in facilities gaining GOTS certification in 2011 were Germany, India, the US, Austria, Bangladesh, Switzerland, Greece, France, Belgium, and Denmark.

GOTS is a voluntary global standard for the entire post-harvest processing (including spinning, knitting, weaving, dyeing and manufacturing) of apparel and home textiles made with organic fibre such as organic cotton and organic wool.

It covers both environmental and social provisions, including a ban on the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), highly hazardous chemicals (such as azo dyes and formaldehyde), and child labour, while requiring strong social compliance management systems and strict waste water treatment practices.

As all fibre certified to GOTS must be certified organic, GOTS certification means consumers are purchasing items certified organic from field to finished product.

The standard has also been formally recognised by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), which says textile products produced in accordance with GOTS may be sold as 'organic' in the US.

The use of US National Organic Program (NOP)-certified fibres and third-party certification of the textile products is also a prerequisite for use of the term 'organic' in the labelling of such products.