Certified-organic mattress and bedding manufacturer Naturepedic is standing up for organic and non-toxic certified consumer products and for GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard). While Naturepedic does not use Indian organic cotton, it feels compelled to express its support for the GOTS certification program and condemn the fraudulent behavior regarding organic cotton that was recently uncovered in India.
Barry A. Cik, Board-Certified Environmental Engineer, Founder and Technical Director of Naturepedic, who has been at the forefront of the organic mattress revolution for the past 18 years, understands the challenges of sustaining the high standards and transparency for certified organic products. “The fact that some cotton entities in India were trying to fraudulently get GOTS certified only confirms that the GOTS program is respected and has value. But what is more important is that GOTS took action to protect the integrity of the certification process,” comments Cik.
In October 2020, GOTS uncovered a fraudulent scheme by certain cotton producers in India to create fake government-approved organic transaction certificates and websites. GOTS caught the fraud, stopped it, and banned eleven companies and a certifier from its system. GOTS has continuously been improving its organic tracking system and fraud prevention measures, which has produced ongoing positive results.
Recent media coverage focused on the organic cotton coming from India and on the fact that there had been considerable fraud. The organic certifiers in India had been duped, and much of the certified organic cotton there was not organic per the GOTS standards and should not have been sold as organic. But the primary problem was not the GOTS certification program. It was the certifications on the farms that had been in the hands of the Indian organic authority. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), responsible for all organic certifications for cotton and other agricultural fibers sold in the U.S., has terminated its agreement to recognize organic products certified by the Indian system. All certification companies in India must now be accredited by the USDA National Organic Program standards for the certified materials sold in the U.S. as organic.
Naturepedic is one of the only organic mattress and bedding manufacturers that has been continuously certified (and with high marks) for fifteen years, approximately when the GOTS organic certification program was first offered to the mattress industry. The U.S. Organic Trade Association (OTA), in coordination with GOTS, now also has an “Organic Fraud Prevention Plan,” and Naturepedic was the first non-food certified organic product to complete the plan.
GOTS is a leader in prohibiting toxic chemicals and materials, and promotes organic, non-toxic, and healthier materials and ingredients in its certified materials and products. If criticism is warranted against so-called “organic” materials and products that turn out not to meet the GOTS standards, it should not be leveled at GOTS. The criticism should be against the companies and brands that sell so-called “organic” products but are not certified. Products certified by GOTS are trustworthy organic and healthier products, “GOTS is a standard that gives consumers the power to choose truly organic products sourced from sustainable supply chains,” says Claudia Kersten, Managing Director at GOTS.
As an avid supporter of organic standards, Cik commented, “At Naturepedic, we believe in ‘no compromise’. We view the GOTS standard as the starting point and not the ceiling to reach our objectives relating to organic and non-toxicity standards.”
About Barry A. Cik, PE, CP, BCEE, QEP, CHMM, CDFE, REM
Barry A. Cik is the Founder and Technical Director of Naturepedic, a manufacturer of award-winning certified organic and non-toxic mattresses for babies, children and adults. As a professionally trained board-certified environmental engineer, Barry combines his authentic passion for improving our quality of life with the technical knowledge to do so. His devotion to the organic industry is the natural result of his lifelong interest in preserving the environment not only for us, but for all future generations as well. He is an advocate for legislative reform, and was invited to testify in Washington, D.C. for a congressional subcommittee hearing exploring chemical reform. Barry frequently speaks before scientific, consumer, political and business audiences on the benefits of sustainable product design.
Since 2003, Naturepedic has been on a mission to protect the lives of families through safer, healthier organic-based products that have a positive impact on the environment. A brand with purpose, transparency and ethical practices, Naturepedic is the recipient of many certifications and is highly respected by numerous health and environmental organizations and is an EPA Green Power Partner. Since its inception Naturepedic has been a consistent and generous advocate and supporter of NGO’s and nonprofits advocating for “Right to Know” about what is in the products that people bring into their homes.