People from around the world are becoming more and

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bers. People from around the world are becoming more and more aware of issues such as global warming, pollution, protection of the environment, and social responsi- bility. The use of organic fi bers, especially organic cotton, is one of the answers to this trend. There is a growing interest in exploring this niche market, which is attracting more and more consumers. Organic cotton is produced in a sustainable way through the management and protection of natural resources, without the use of agricultural chemicals (pesticides and chemical fertilizers) or other products that are harmful to humans, animals, and the environment, while maintaining and restoring the fertility of the soil and assuring biodiversity. It also is softer and less likely to cause allergic skin reactions. The year 2007 marked a real boom in terms of the growth rate of organic cotton: 152 % compared to 2006. Although this rate of increase is now much lower, the fact that 2009 was declared by the United Nations to be the Year of Natural Fibers also lead to a large number of initiatives promoting natural fi bers, partic- ularly organic cotton. Conventionally grown cotton consumes more than 10 % of the pesticides used in the world. Organic cotton cultivation is being promoted by several NGOs as a way to have a better environment, higher income for farmers, and better working con- ditions for laborers (Wakelyn and Chaudhry 2009 ). At present, the European Commission is in the fi nal stages of a review of the current EU organic legislation. It has decided that the legal basis of its organic regulation should not be extended to cover textiles (or cosmetics) because the regulation only concerns farming and organic food. Nevertheless, the principles of organic farming can be applied to natural textile fi bers, both vegetable (cotton and fl ax) and animal (wool and silk). The fi rst European legislation was published in 1992 (Council regulation EEC 2092/91). The present legislation is Regulation EC 834/2007, which is used by certifying bodies for organic certi fi cation. Worldwide, the National Organic Pro- gram of the US Department of Agriculture is also used. There are presently many textile consumer products marketed as organic (in most of the cases, made with organic cotton ). Market estimation of organic textiles in the European Union in 2011 was about 1 billion Euro (Matrix Insight Ltd 2012 ). According to this study, organic is responsible for more than 90 % of this fi gure, although that represents only approximately 0.7 % of the total cotton world production. Because the European regulation is not clearly applicable to textiles, there is no of fi cial system to avoid misleading claims. Ecolabels and Organic Certi fi cation for Textile Products 187
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6.1 Global Organic Textile Standard The major certifying system for organic textiles is the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). This standard was developed following an initiative in 2002. A working group formed in 2004 involves the following four organizations that certify and promote organic textiles: International Association Natural Textile Industry, Germany
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