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GOLS certification -- useful? trustworthy? 19 Feb 2022 00:58 #1

  • okyup
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In researching latex mattresses, I noticed that GOLS certification is talked about everywhere. Looking up this certification, I found surprisingly little information on it. It was created in Sri Lanka in 2012 by a young guy who was basically hired straight out of university, and this same guy has managed it and signed off on the certificates since then. The standard sounds good (though it largely just defers to GOTS and eco-INSTITUT-label standards), but it is only used by 41 companies , mostly all mattress companies. So it seems to be a rather obscure and small certification that has become popular solely with mattress companies, and certainly popular with their customers too.

From blog posts online, I can see that GOLS has become a major marketing tool for latex mattresses. Popular bloggers complain if the GOLS certificate only names the Asian company producing the latex foam, not the North American company producing the end product mattress, using that to promote some companies over others. The companies listen and get their North American names on the certificates.

In theory, GOLS inspects facilities annually, I gather both the Asian facility where the materials are produced and the North American facilities where the mattresses are assembled for companies that have their North American name on the GOLS certificate. They require tracking to show that all natural latex inputs come from an organic farm source, testing to show that chemicals and fillers in the foam are <5% of the final weight, and testing to show that emissions meet eco-INSTITUT-label standards. I guess the question I have is... do we know if they actually perform these inspections reliably? I don't see much transparency around that process or results reporting.

It's interesting how people fixate on marketing things to the point where they lose sight of reality. I guess people are too lazy to read the manual, they are won over by a pretty-looking logo. For instance, all the talk of 100% natural products is basically just bogus since GOLS only requires 95% by weight to be organic natural latex polymer. We have no clue what the other 5% consists of, we only know of some things that are excluded by the standard.

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Last edit: by okyup.

GOLS certification -- useful? trustworthy? 21 Feb 2022 13:57 #2

  • NikkiTMU
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Hi okyup.

Welcome to our Mattress Forum. :)

You offer up some thought provoking questions! Others may have more in-depth or experienced opinions to offer, but I'll say this...

GOLS is certified under the Control Union which also certifies GOTS, Fair trade, SAGARPA in Mexico, USDA Organic, and a myriad of other programs.

I'd say it's trustworthy in that there is quality control and oversight.

Like many/all certifications, to become certified is rarely cheap and never free. Many companies don't hold certifications on products that would certainly qualify simply because of the many hoops required to receive said certification.

GOLS is the Global Organic Latex Standard and since latex in foam form is primarily used in mattresses, it makes sense that the consumer base would be primarily in that industry.

Again, if others have anything to add in terms of first hand knowledge, I do hope they chime in!

NikkiTMU
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GOLS certification -- useful? trustworthy? 16 Mar 2022 07:37 #3

I think it makes sense to complain when the name of company, which is producing end product mattress, is not on GOLS certificate. If I am not wrong, GOLS certifies the trust from farm source till the company getting certified. So, if a mattress assembler (without GOLS cert) buys from a certified supplier, how an end customer would be able to verify if the final mattress really contains the organic latex.

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GOLS certification -- useful? trustworthy? 18 Mar 2022 08:57 #4

  • MattressToGo
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adamz:

(You asked a similar question in another thread and I answered there, so I'm pasting my reply here in case others don't stumble across that thread.)

GOLS is meant to certify producers of componentry (in this case, sheets of foam rubber latex) and manufacturers of products (in this case, mattresses containing form rubber latex), not mattress retailers, although in some cases, especially with online products, the manufacturer of a GOLS and/or GOTS certified completed mattress may also be the actual retailer of that product if it's only sold by that manufacturer through their own online channel.

If a manufacturer of a product uses GOLS certified latex and states as such, then you could always go to the Control Union site and double check that the latex foam producer still has their GOLS certification in good standing. You could also do the same if the completed mattress has a GOLS and/or GOTS certification.

As a consumer, I can understand being a bit skeptical about componentry used in a mattress, but my default stance wouldn't tend to be cynical. Most mattress companies are honest with the componentry contained within their products, especially if using organic certified claims, as it's so easy to verify if their claims are correct and certification agencies have tools in place to legally protect these certifications. I would tend to be cautious if there were previous examples of a retailer or manufacturer being found to be less than honest. If a retailer makes the claim that mattress A from company B uses GOLS certified latex from manufacturer C, and these certifications are current and publicly stated/promoted by all parties involved, then I would tend to trust that information as being accurate, unless there was compelling contradictory information to refute those claims. The reputation of all parties involved comes into play here as well. And of course one's own personal level of trust, and how certain something needs to be for one to believe that it is accurate, which for some people can stray quite a bit from what the general population / reasonable people would consider as valid.
Jeff Scheuer, The Beducator™ Owner of Mattress To Go
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