If someone tries to sell you a shirt and claims it is absolutely organic, how do you know? You probably don’t know the salesperson individually and given he or she has an interest in getting you to purchase the product, is their word enough? An organic t-shirt looks like a non-organic one, after all.
Now take a mattress, larger and more complicated. How do you know what’s really inside and outside that product. What does “organic mattress” even mean? Maybe what they are calling organic is different than your idea of organic, so again, how do you know it’s organic?
The truth? Without trustworthy verification, it’s pretty much impossible.
That is why the Global Organic Textile Standard, or GOTS, is essential. GOTS certifies textiles and fabrics, apparel and mattresses. With GOTS, a trained, independent examiner ensures everything adds up and meets an established standard viewable by anyone. The books, systems, and physical manufacturing facility and its processes are inspected. The auditor then submits a report and the methodology is further checked. They even compare purchases to sales. If a mattress company purchased 10,000 yards of organic cotton fabric but sold mattresses that used 100,000 yards of fabric, they know something is wrong.
It’s important to ensure an entire mattress is certified by GOTS, not just an individual component. A manufacturer, after all, can purchase some GOTS-certified fabrics, but if they only show you the fabric maker’s GOTS certificate and not their own, what do you really know? Only that the fabric company makes certified organic fabrics and the mattress company bought some at some point. That’s it. Viewing the GOTS certification for a vendor company doesn’t tell you anything about the mattress.
Compare it to buying a house. Let’s say you want to know if a house is up to code. The house was never inspected, but the seller shows you that that he once paid a certified electrician and shows you the electrician’s credentials. Is that enough for you? You don’t even know how much of the electrical work was done by the electrician or if the work was even done for this house. My guess is you’ll want more proof. Similarly, if an entire mattress isn’t certified by GOTS, you don’t know what you’re getting.
While the USDA certifies food and natural fibers, it doesn’t certify manufactured products so know there is no such thing as a USDA-certified mattress! The initial wool or cotton could be USDA certified, but not the mattress.
Some GOTS trivia:
– A GOTS-certified mattress cannot mix organic with non-organic cotton
– GOTS approves select non-fiber accessories based on a variety of strict environmental and health criteria
– GOTS does not allow polyurethane foam or vinyl
– GOTS approves food grade polyethylene as a waterproofing method
– GOTS also demands social and environmental criteria are met for farmers and producers