You might have seen on our website or product hangtags that all Under the Nile products are certified by GOTS. But what exactly does that mean?
GOTS ensures sustainable and ethical manufacturing in all stages of production, and sets a world-wide recognized standard. This holds our company accountable to strict ecological and social criteria, including things like cotton cultivation, safe fabric finishes, sustainable packaging and fair treatment of workers. Everything about our products - from cotton harvest to product hangtag - adheres to the GOTS standard of ethical and sustainable production. The factory where our products are made are inspected annually to maintain the GOTS certification.
Did you know? Under the Nile was the first baby clothing company in the USA to be certified by GOTS!
All GOTS certified products must have at least 70% organic fibers, and any chemical additives such as dyes have to meet strict environmental and toxicological standards. At Under the Nile we go above and beyond —we use 100% organic cotton and we use low impact dyes for vibrant colors. There are a lot more things that GOTS keeps in check, including:
- All of our bleaches must be based on oxygen (no chlorine bleaching) and we NEVER use Azo dyes, which are carcinogenic
- Packaging material must not contain PVC
- All waste water must be treated in a functional waste water treatment plant
GOTS also has new regulations around the packaging of the garments—right down to the hangtag— which we have been following closely to make sure that every part of our products is as healthy and eco friendly as possible. One extra step we have taken is to discontinue the use of cellophane in gift basket wrapping.
Another important aspect of GOTS is that all people involved in the production must be treated ethically. Their “Social Criteria” includes guidelines for safety, nondiscrimination, workers rights, and more. SEKEM, our fair trade certified farm and manufacturing partner in Egypt where all of our products are made, has had these practices ingrained from the start.
SEKEM has been recognized internationally for their innovative practices. Some of them include:
- Incorporating eurythmy, or movement therapy, into the daily routine of workers
- “Thursday circles” for employee empowerment
- Cultural community activities, including art and music
- A community school to prevent child labor
- Free daily organic lunches for all workers
- A medical center and free health care
GOTS is important because it keeps companies like ours accountable and transparent, so that you can feel confident that the purchases you make are the best for you, your family and the world.
- At all stages through the processing organic fibre products must be separated from conventional fibre products and must to be clearly identified
- All chemical inputs (e.g. dyes, auxiliaries and process chemicals) must be evaluated and meeting basic requirements on toxicity and biodegradability/eliminability
- Prohibition of critical inputs such as toxic heavy metals, formaldehyde, aromatic solvents, functional nano particles, genetically modified organisms (GMO) and their enzymes
- The use of synthetic sizing agents is restricted; knitting and weaving oils must not contain heavy metals
- Bleaches must be based on oxygen (no chlorine bleaching)
- Azo dyes that release carcinogenic amine compounds are prohibited
- Discharge printing methods using aromatic solvents and plastisol printing methods using phthalates and PVC are prohibited
- Restrictions for accessories (e.g. no PVC, nickel or chrome permitted)
- All operators must have an environmental policy including target goals and procedures to minimise waste and discharges
- Wet processing units must keep full records of the use of chemicals, energy, water consumption and waste water treatment, including the disposal of sludge. The waste water from all wet processing units must be treated in a functional waste water treatment plant.
- Packaging material must not contain PVC. Paper or cardboard used in packaging material, hang tags, swing tags etc. must be recycled or certified according to FSC or PEFC
- Employment is freely chosen
- Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining are respected
- Working conditions are safe and hygienic
- Child labor must not be used
- Living wages
- Working hours are not excessive
- No discrimination is practiced
- Regular employment is provided
- Harsh or inhumane treatment is prohibited
Read more about GOTS criteria and guidelines on their website.