OCS - Organic Content Standard
The Organic Content Standard (OCS) is a standard that sets the requirements for third-party certification for certified organic inputs and chain of custody. The internationally valid OCS certification is done on a voluntary basis. The most important aim of OCS is to increase organic agriculture production.
OCS´s main goals are:
• Provide industries with an effective and comprehensive tool to verify that the products purchased consist of organically grown ingredients.
• Providing companies with a reliable tool to communicate organically grown content claims to the industry.
• Provide organic fiber farmers with a wide range of access to global organic markets for their products.
We can list the main points on which OCS is built as follows:
• Organic content verification: Only materials from certified organic farms (under one of IFOAM´s (International Federation of Organic Farming Movements) Standard Families) will be accepted to OCS.
• Chain of custody: OCS certification ensures that the identity of these organic ingredients is maintained from farm to end product.
• Trusted certification: A third-party certification body that is expert in its business oversees every stage of the supply chain.
• Secure message: Products that meet all requirements can be labeled with the OCS logo. With this logo, customers are given a message that the product is safe and their trust is gained.
• Stakeholder engagement: OCS is managed with input from manufacturers, suppliers, brands and retailers around the world.
OCS is an open and transparent process managed by Textile Exchange. The standard has been developed through a multi-stakeholder group of representatives from industry and different sectors, including animal welfare groups, industry associations, supply chain members, brands and experts.
Textile Exchange has been in existence since 2002 and plays a strong role in supporting the use of sustainable materials and appropriate validation strategies in the textile industry. Although Textile Exchange has extensive experience in standard development and adoption, it does not carry out any certification activities. The overall focus of the institution is to support the adoption of quality and standards.
The first version of OCS was released in March 2018. The OCS 3.0 revision process started in 2019 and the updated standard was published on March 1, 2020.
How to Obtain an OCS Certificate?
The steps to be followed by businesses that want to be certified are as follows:
• Selection of an approved certification body; OCS Certificate / Certificate can only be obtained from accredited certification bodies.
• Making the application; It is recommended to apply to more than one certification body to compare certification prices.
• Audit planning; Good preparation can save audit time and reduce certification costs.
• On-site inspection; The certification body sends an auditor to carry out the audit in accordance with the requirements of the standard.
• Tracing; The certification body provides businesses with a corrective action plan if necessary. It is followed in the processes after the audit to implement this plan.
• Complete certification; The certification body reviews the audit results to make the final certification decision. If the OCS criteria are met, an OCS Certificate is issued to the business.
Scope of Organic Content Standard
OCS certification applies to all supply chain steps with organically grown content: In this context, first processor, production, packaging and labeling, storage, shipping and shipping through vendor, etc. Steps are covered by the OCS.
Depending on the type of organic material being processed, the following examples are considered OCS certified first post-harvest processing stages, and the applicable sites are referred to as the first applicator.
• Separating from seed for cotton
Pooling process for bast fibers
• Boiling and washing silk cocoons
Washing process for wool and other animal fibers
All organizations that are both OCS and GOTS certified will have both certificates with the same certification body to properly reconcile organic volume between both standards.
OCS can be applied globally to supply chain regions for products not intended to be consumed as food for humans or animals. However, it cannot be used to support claims about food products as it is subject to national law. In this context, as agricultural food products may have other purposes than consumption; Food products mean "for consumption" products.
OCS applies to products containing at least 5% organically grown material, calculated as a percentage of the whole product, excluding accessories and decorations.
An OCS blended product can have a minimum of 5% and a maximum of 94% certified content (eg 5% organic cotton / 95% standard cotton t-shirts). The remaining content can be any material. An OCS 100 product, on the other hand, has a minimum 95% and a maximum of 100% certified content (such as a T-shirt with 95% organic cotton / 5% recycled polyester).