Textile certifier GOTS uncovers fraud with Indian organic cotton
by Leo Frühschütz (comments: 0)
By own investigations the eco-textile standard GOTS has detected a fraud with falsified certificates. The case concerns 20.000 tons of alleged organic cotton from India.
During a surveillance audit, the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) found fake raw cotton transaction certificates (TCs). The organization communicated this in a recent press release.
The report states that the fraudsters have misused certificate templates from the Indian government agency APEDA. The templates had been provided with fake QR codes that led to a cloned APEDA website in order to pass them off as "authentic". "According to GOTS knowledge, these counterfeit TCs comprise approximately 20,000 tons of cotton," the standard organization states.
Exclusion of responsible certifiers
"11 companies were excluded from the GOTS system and the contract with a certifier was terminated. GOTS has presented all the facts to APEDA and urged it to investigate, prosecute and take additional quality assurance measures. All GOTS certified companies have been informed of the incident and appropriate measures," the organization stated in the press release.
The consulting firm It fits linked the names of the eleven companies excluded for two years and wrote that the US Textile Exchange (TE) also excluded them from certification for two years. The Argentinean certifier Letis has also been excluded by both organizations.
“Another black sheep in this fraud story is the certification body ICEA from Italy. For both GOTS and TE standards certification, IECA has been temporarily suspended and currently has no certification accreditation,” It fits further announced. The suspension was pronounced by IOAS, the organization responsible for auditing certifiers. At the end of November IOAS ended the suspension for both ICEA and LETIS. It is now up to the two standard organizations to decide whether they will work with the certifiers again.
Revision of the data acquisition system
Global Standard admits that up to now it has relied on the respective countries to monitor organic cultivation. In the future, “all TCs (for organic raw material) entering the GOTS supply chain will be checked for authenticity and credibility by GOTS itself. (…) A system for permanent data collection for raw material entering the GOTS supply chain and for the control and verification of the certification bodies is currently being developed.”
The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is a worldwide standard for organic textiles and is supported by the non-profit Global Standard GmbH, which also awards the GOTS label.