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Complaint Procedure

Principles of GOTS Complaints Procedure

The GOTS Complaints Procedure is developed to support the GOTS vision: that organic textiles will become a significant part of everyday life, enhancing people’s lives and the environment. The GOTS Complaints Procedure strives to adhere to the core criteria of legitimacy, accessibility, predictability, equitability, transparency, and is dialogue-based.

The procedure is designed in consultation with experts and external stakeholders to reflect the word and spirit of the core GOTS documents, including the Standard, the Manual for the Implementation of GOTS and the GOTS Due Diligence Handbook for Certified Entities.

GOTS strives to continuously improve its Complaints Procedure to ensure it reflects the best international practices and meets the highest expectations for grievance mechanisms, as provided by the OECD Guidance documents and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

GOTS provides a complaint procedure to ensure a formalised, timely and effective means of handling and resolving any complaints raised with regard to:

  • unauthorised, false or misleading use of the GOTS logo or other claims related to GOTS
  • certification failures or omissions in the course of the GOTS certification procedure
  • any other abuses of the GOTS quality assurance or the licensing and labelling system
  • violations against the ownership and other rights of/in the Global Organic Textile Standard

Complaints based on any of the criteria listed can be made by any company, organisation or individual. In order to formalise and ease the handling of complaints, a specific complaint form has been developed, which complainants are requested to make use of.

GOTS requires all complainants to identify themselves and their affiliations while submitting complaints.  Unidentified complaints shall not be entertained.  Complainants however have a choice to remain anonymous while complaints are being investigated and GOTS shall always honour such a request, if made.   

Fill out the complaint form

1. Your contact details (will remain anonymous, if desired)

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2. Who is this complaint against?

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3. Subject of the complaint

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4. Details of the complaint

Please describe your complaint below as precisely as possible, giving the reasons for your suspicion, also any steps taken so far in pursuing it. Please attach all relevant information and documentation.
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5. Further information / comments

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6. Authorisation

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Please select a region responsible for your complaint request
After evaluation of your complaint and the information you have submitted, we will inform you about the processing of the complaint and if further information is required to be able to progress it appropriately. GOTS thanks you for making the effort to file this complaint, which will help to assure and further improve the GOTS quality assurance and to safeguard the credibility of the GOTS programme and its labelling system.

  1. The Principle of Legitimacy

The principle of legitimacy in the GOTS Complaints Procedure refers to stakeholders’ trust and confidence in the process. This principle provides that the Complaints Procedure is accountable, fair, and transparent, handling every complaint according to established procedures without any bias or manipulation.

  • GOTS strives to maintain a transparent and accountable complaint-handling process.
  • Every complaint is documented, and complainants have the right to appeal decisions. Additionally, GOTS safeguards the complainants from retaliation, ensuring that their identities remain confidential.
  • GOTS Complaints Procedure allows complainants to remain anonymous, for example, by engaging with legitimate representatives.
  • If a complaint or grievance is raised concerning non-compliance with the GOTS criteria—particularly those criteria derived from international human rights and labor conventions—and the parties involved are not satisfied with the resolution provided by the GOTS Complaints Procedure, they have the option to seek further redress or escalate the issue using other available grievance mechanisms, such as National Contact Points for the OECD Guidelines.
  • The GOTS Complaints Procedure is managed by designated qualified and experienced GOTS staff.
  • The development of the GOTS Complaints Procedure is reliant on stakeholder engagement and informed by external expertise.
  1. The Principle of Accessibility

The principle of accessibility requires that the Complaints Procedure is known and functional for all stakeholders, including those facing barriers due to language, literacy, education, or socioeconomic factors. The Complaints Procedure is designed to be user-friendly.

  • The GOTS Complaint Form is available on the GOTS website and is the primary means to file a complaint.
  • In certain exceptional cases, GOTS may accept complaints submitted through other means, including emails.
  • To properly document the complaint-handling process, GOTS prefers that any communication during the complaints-handling procedure be in written form, with other means of communication being supplementary.
  • GOTS is committed to publicize, communicate and raise awareness of the Complaints Procedures to all relevant stakeholders in order to ensure broader awareness and usability.
  • The complaint form is designed to be intuitive and accessible, allowing accessibility for any stakeholders facing potential barriers.
  • If a complaint or grievance is raised concerning non-compliance with the GOTS criteria—particularly those criteria derived from international human rights and labour conventions—affected parties may refer to grievance mechanisms provided by the GOTS Approved Certification Bodies or seek their advice in submitting the complaint through the GOTS Complaints Procedure.
  • Given its global scope, GOTS is committed to continuously improving the accessibility of the complaints procedure across all geographic regions.
  1. The Principle of Predictability

Predictability means providing a clear and known procedure with an indicative time frame for each stage and clarity on the types of process and outcome available and means of monitoring implementation. It ensures that complainants know what to expect and when from filing the complaint to the resolution.

  • GOTS shall treat every complaint with utmost seriousness.
  • The GOTS Complaints Procedure outlines predictable steps in handling complaints, including timelines for responses and appeals, and communicates indicative timeframes to the affected parties.
  • The GOTS Complaints Procedure includes clear instructions on the submission, handling and disposal of submitted complaints.
  • The GOTS Complaints Procedure aims to inform the Complainant about the status of their complaint.
  • Resolutions or decisions reached through the GOTS complaint-handling process shall be followed by respective stakeholders.
  1. The Principle of Equitability

Equitability, as one of the core principles of the GOTS Complaints Procedure, means ensuring that aggrieved parties have reasonable access to sources of information, advice, and expertise necessary to engage in a grievance process on fair, informed, and respectful terms. This principle aims to balance any power imbalances between the parties.

  • GOTS promotes equitability by providing clear guidelines and support to complainants.
  • This includes providing sufficient information, allowing complainants to understand the process and ensuring they can participate fully and fairly.
  • GOTS makes efforts to provide necessary information, advice, and expertise to all parties involved.
  1. The Principle of Transparency

Transparency ensures that the Complaints Procedure operates openly, keeping parties informed about the progress of their complaints and providing sufficient information about the mechanism’s performance to build confidence in its effectiveness.

  • GOTS upholds transparency by striving to keep the Complainants informed about the status of their complaint.
  • GOTS makes available on its website the current list of entities banned for Certification as a result of complaints investigations.
  1. The Principle of Being Dialogue-based

Dialogue-based means seeking to resolve complaints through dialogue between the stakeholders involved (for instance, between the Certified Entities and the Certification Bodies or between Certified Entities and the affected parties or their representatives).

  • GOTS strives to ensure that its Complaints Procedure is dialogue-based, focusing on resolving grievances through open and constructive communication between relevant stakeholders involved. This approach helps to find mutually agreeable solutions and fosters a collaborative environment for addressing issues.