AUSTRALIA’S first wool garments from non-mulesed sheep certified under the Responsible Wool Standard are now available through global brands.
However, wool from New Zealand and the country’s linkages to international brands dominate the first global RWS-certified product releases.
The RWS is the Textile Exchange’s voluntary global third party audited assurance standard that requires wool to come from non-mulesed flocks or those that have ceased mulesing. The standard addresses the welfare of sheep and of the land on which they graze.
Global sustainability assessment company Textile Exchange yesterday that the first RWS certified products are now available in stores with more coming as the textile industry commitment to the RWS standard grows.
Since its release in June 2016, adoption of the standard has been steadily increasing across key wool-growing and processing countries. There are now RWS certified farms in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the United States, Argentina and Uruguay, as well as certified manufacturers across the world, Textile Exchange said.
Textile Exchange said the RWS certified garments now available reflect the global reach of the RWS. The first RWS certified products from the H&M Group’s lifestyle concept store ARKET were launched last month, featuring wool from Uruguay and Australia. The H&M Group has made a commitment to only using RWS or recycled wool in all of its products by the end of 2022.
ARKET sustainability manager Karin Brinck said wool is central to the brand’s assortment, as it is beautiful and durable.
“We are therefore very excited to introduce the Responsible Wool Standard (RWS) in our A/W 2018 collections with garments and accessories made with certified Merino and raw wool.
“This is a way for ARKET to contribute to a more traceable and responsible supply chain both for the animals and their environment,” she said.
American clothing brand Eileen Fisher recently released its first RWS-certified garments made of wool from New Zealand and Argentina.
Founder Eileen Fisher said she believes that the only way to have a more responsible industry is if we help lead the change.
“That means engaging with partners who share our values—other brands, our suppliers and our customers.
“And that’s how we approached responsible wool: by partnering with Textile Exchange and the right farms,” she said.
British multinational retailer Marks & Spencer this week launched its first products made from RWS certified wool in menswear.
This month M&S will launch eight tailoring items made from RWS-certified wool as part of its Plan A eco and ethical commitments to address animal welfare, environmental impacts, and to more transparent. The six blazers and two waistcoats will be launched in line with Wool Week 2018.
The wool in the Marks & Spencer garments is traceable back to a network of Wools of New Zealand farms where it was grown, including the Palliser Ridge properties on New Zealand’s North Island, Textile Exchange said.
Palliser Ridge farm manager Kurt Portas said the operation is totally committed to best practice.
“We are receptive to adopting any new initiative that is market driven to lift standards of animal welfare, farm management and the environment.
“RWS simply recognises the efforts that we put into our land and by farming our animals in the most ethical way.”
Marks & Spencer raw materials specialist Phil Townsend said the retailer was proud to be one of the first retailers to launch an RWS certified items and to have played a significant role in its development with Textile Exchange and other committed partners.
“This is an important milestone as part of our ongoing Plan A commitment to be more transparent about our suppliers and ensure our raw materials come from more sustainable sources, which respect people, communities, the planet and animal welfare.”
To view the first RWS products, see the following links.
EILEEN FISHER: https://www.eileenfisher.com/responsible-wool/
Marks & Spencer: https://www.marksandspencer.com/l/men/blazers-and-smart-jackets