Texas, United States – Textile Exchange announces the release of the Responsible Wool Standard (RWS). The RWS is an independent, voluntary standard. On farms, the certification ensures that sheep are treated with respect to their five freedoms and ensures best practices in the management and protection of the land. Through the processing stages, certification ensures that wool from certified farms is properly identified and tracked.
The Standard is intended to be a global benchmark for animal welfare and land management practices in sheep farming. The goals of the standard are to provide the industry with the best possible tool to:
- Recognize the best practices of farmers around the globe.
- Ensure wool comes from responsibly treated sheep and from farms with a progressive approach to managing their land.
- Build communication and understanding between farmers, consumers and brands.
- Provide a robust chain of custody system from farm to final product to ensure consumer confidence in RWS products.
In March 2014, H&M and Textile Exchange started an International Working Group (IWG) to develop the Responsible Wool Standard. The IWG includes representation from a broad spectrum of interested parties, including animal welfare groups, farmers, wool suppliers, and brands and supply industry associations, covering both apparel and home categories. Developed through an open, multi-stakeholder process, the Standard is a global benchmark for animal welfare and land management practices, while maintaining applicability in regions all over the world. The Standard ensures sheep are raised with respect to their Five Freedoms, with strong welfare principles in all aspects of farming. The Standard also ensures farmers follow best practices in land management.
The Standard development process began with hours of research of existing standards. In late 2015, pilot audits began in key sheep raising regions in the world, including Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, South Africa, Austria, the United States and the United Kingdom, each providing valuable information used to refine the requirements, and certification approach. Two Public Stakeholder Review periods were held to invite feedback from anyone interested in the Standard. The final version was approved by the Steering Committee of the International Working Group prior to its release.
There are currently three Certification Bodies that are in process of Textile Exchange approval: Control Union, LETIS, and NSF.
Source: Textile Exchange