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Textile Exchange Releases First Draft of Responsible Wool Standard

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Textile Exchange (TE) this week released the first draft of the Responsible Wool Standard (RWS) for a 60-day public stakeholder review by interested parties.

The nonprofit organization called it an important opportunity for the public to offer feedback and ensure the standard meets its goals and delivers value to the wool industry.

Intended to be a global benchmark for animal welfare and land management practices in sheep farming, the goals of RWS are as follows:

• 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
• Drive understanding and adoption of best land management principles and practices
• Provide a robust chain of custody system from farm to final product to ensure consumer confidence in RWS products

Work on RWS began in early 2014 and TE started an International Working Group to help develop the standard, which has been written through an open, multi-stakeholder process with representation from a plethora of interested parties, including animal welfare groups, farmers, wool suppliers and brands and supply industry associations across both the apparel and home categories.

Pilot audits have been conducted in Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, South Africa, Austria, the U.S. and the U.K., with each country providing valuable information that was then used to refine the requirements and tweak the auditing and certification approach.

The review will remain open for 60 days, in accordance with the ISEAL Code of Good Practice for standard setting. Following this, the RWS technical group will review the input, make revisions and put the standard out for another 30-day open stakeholder review, after which final revisions will be made.

To participate in the review process or to stay up to date on the progress, visit responsiblewool.org.

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