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Eco- Textile Labelling Guide 2010 Voluntary organic standards Although these standards are optional, they MUSTmeet the criteria laid down by the obligatory standards set out in the previous section of this guide. In addition, if the goods are to be labelled and sold as organic textiles in these markets, they need to be certified through ISO 65/ IFOAM accredited certifiers ( pages: 42 - 54). Most of the organisations that run voluntary standards are private, not governmental set-ups and are often regional in their outlook. However, since the last edition of the guide there has been further progress towards greater harmonisation of the numerous voluntary organic standards. This shift has been to counter what some in the industry have described as ' label flood', which had the effect of confusing manufacturers and retailers about which organic standard to choose. In particular, the Global Organic Textile Standard ( GOTS) has made great strides. To date around 2600 facilities are now GOTS certified around the world - this has grown from around 1000 in 2008. This label focuses on compulsory criteria only and is due to be updated again in June 2010. Parts of the current version that may change include the restrictions on copper in dyestuffs, quaternary ammonium compounds and plastic buttons. The residue testing chapter is due to be revised and will be based on ISO test methods. In terms of fibre only standards, the Organic Exchange has not only tweaked its OE Blended standard, but it will also change its name as the organisation broadens its remit to look at eco- textiles in general. Its Blended Standard is " now only awarded when the ' cotton content is organically grown' and applies to goods that use no conventional cotton at all," according to Anne Gillespie of Organic Exchange ( see page: 29). For clothing retailers and brands it is vitally important that each company has a deep understanding of what is required and take all possible steps to ensure the integrity of their organic products. Basically the most important steps are making sure the fibre itself has been certified to the correct standard. Secondly, it is also imperative that the products are certified to the labelling requirements of the market where the products are being sold. Lastly it is important that to avoid brand damage, and potential legal action, brands can verify the claims they make about products they sell if consumer trust is to be maintained - and if the market for organic textiles is to continue growing. Optional organic standards In contrast to the obligatory organic standards mentioned on the previous pages, the various third- party standards in this section are for both ' fibre only' and the subsequent processing of organic fibres into yarn, knitted and woven fabrics. 13