GOLS vs. FSC-certified latex: What’s the difference?

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Written by Leigh Matthews, BA Hons, H.Dip. NT


Leigh Matthews, BA Hons, H.Dip. NT

Sustainability Expert

Leigh Matthews is a sustainability expert and long time vegan. Her work on solar policy has been published in Canada's National Observer.


Mattresses, change pads, sofas, and all manner of other home goods now feature natural latex with GOLS or FSC certifications. Some products have both! What’s the difference between GOLS and FSC certified latex? Here’s what you need to know.

Plushbeds GOLT latex
Unwrapped GOLS certified latex in our Plushbeds Botanical Bliss sample.
Table of Contents
  1. GOLS certification 101
  2. FSC certification 101
  3. What’s the difference?
  4. Which is best?
  5. Both certifications is rare

GOLS (Global Organic Latex Standard) and FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certifications both relate to environmental and sustainable practices. When you’re looking for truly sustainable products, certifications matter greatly because they are the only way to police the industry and to enforce some accountability.

  • GOLS certification – focused on ensuring there are no harmful chemicals.
  • FSC certification – focused on ensuring forests are protected.

The difference between GOLS and FSC is that they focus on different aspects of the production and supply chain of latex (and other products in the case of FSC). The main focus of GOLS is the organic nature of latex products, including ensuring a final product is free of harmful chemicals and synthetic materials. In this regard, it’s very similar to GOTS certification. In contrast, FSC certification is mostly concerned with the management of forests where the latex is sourced. It doesn’t have much to do with the final latex product itself.

GOLS certification 101

Whenever you see a mattress or other product with a valid Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) certification, you can be sure you’re getting a product that is predominantly organic. That’s not all though.

The scope of GOLS certification ensures that latex is:

  • Organic
  • From the sap of rubber trees (as in, not synthetic rubber)
  • Harvested sustainably
  • Produced without use of excessive or hazardous chemicals, fertilizers, or pesticides.

This certification only applies to latex.

To qualify for GOLS certification, a product must contain more than 95% certified organic raw material. 

The standard also covers the following aspects of latex production:

  • Processing
  • Manufacturing
  • Packing
  • Labeling
  • Trading
  • Distribution.

The goal of GOLS is to certify and promote latex products made in a sustainable, environmentally friendly, and socially responsible way, with a high proportion of organic materials.

FSC certification 101

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification is broader in scope than GOLS. It can apply to all forest products, which include:

  • Wood
  • Paper
  • Latex
  • Anything else harvested from trees.

It can also apply to products made using recycled wood and paper. 

Products with FSC certification have to meet strict standards for:

  • Responsible forest management
  • Environmental, social, and economic benefits
  • Biodiversity protection
  • Worker rights
  • Respect for areas of significant cultural or environmental importance.

The purpose of FSC certification is to ensure forest products, including latex, come from sustainably managed forests.

What’s the difference?

Here’s a quick overview of the differences between FSC and GOLS certification as they apply to latex:

Applies toAll forest products: Latex, wood, paper, etc.Latex only
Organic certificationNoYes
Covers post-harvesting processesNoYes
Covers sustainable forest managementYesPartly
Certifies latex products as free of hazardous chemicalsNoYes
Encompasses social and ethical criteriaYesYes

Which is best?

There are pros and cons to both the FSC and GOLS programs. My advice is to look for GOLS at a minimum, and to favor products that carry both certifications. 

That way, you can be reasonably certain that you’re getting a mattress or other latex product that is:

  • Organic
  • Free of hazardous chemicals and synthetic materials
  • Produced responsibly
  • Produced according to strict social and environmental criteria.

Both certifications is rare

Not many mattresses carry both seals though. So, look for GOLS seals and be wary of companies that use an FSC logo but only because they use FSC packaging. This doesn’t mean the latex is FSC certified!

Which mattresses are made with latex carrying both FSC and GOLS certifications? Our top picks include: 

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