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Textile Exchange Launches Responsible Mohair Standard

Textile Exchange has released a new Responsible Mohair Standard (RMS) and has made its first revision to the Responsible Wool Standard (RWS) that was created in 2016.

The new RMS verifies and identifies mohair produced in farming systems that respect animal welfare and the environment, said Textile Exchange, a global nonprofit that manages and promotes a suite of industry standards. The RMS creates a strong assurance system by performing regular audits of farms and tracking the material to the final product. The standard is designed to make sure animal welfare is carried out and that the goats that provide the mohair are humanely treated, healthy and well cared for.

“The RMS helps everyone to identify room for improvement on their farms and in their business,” Marx Strydom, a mohair producer from the Jansenville region of South Africa, said. “It also helps to provide farmers some peace of mind as to where they are up to standard and even reassures them of areas where they excel. The idea that everyone’s facilities and practices need to adhere to a minimum standard is an outstanding idea.”

The Responsible Mohair Standard was based on, and is closely aligned with, the Responsible Wool Standard and the two standards are combined for the supply chain. Both the RMS and the RWS are structured around the Textile Exchange Animal Welfare Framework, which sets out the principles and expectations that guide and connect Textile Exchange’s animal welfare standards.

The RWS has seen strong adoption across the supply chain, with certified farms in all key wool-producing countries, according to Textile Exchange. The revision covers updates and clarifications to the animal welfare and land management modules, including the introduction of additional requirements and guidance around biodiversity. It also introduces a set of social welfare requirements.

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“We believe the Responsible Wool Standard is addressing a specific market need,” Giovanni Schneider, CEO of The Schneider Group, said. “It is our task, as a trusted partner between producers and consumers all over the world to convey this message to all our precious suppliers.”

Most wool sheep and angora goats around the world are raised in extensive grazing systems. These farming systems have a high welfare potential as they are systems that can meet the welfare needs of the animals.

Textile Exchange, which also collects and publishes critical industry data and insights that allow brands and retailers to measure, manage and track their use of preferred fiber and materials, has more than 400 members who represent leading brands, retailers and suppliers.

Separately, the organization addressed the question on the minds of many in the industry of whether sustainability efforts will suffer during the global coronavirus pandemic.

Noting that there are some 3,570 days to reach 2030 climate goals, Textile Exchange said while everyone is working to support each other to get through the current situation, “we can’t lose the momentum and focus on the goal of reducing carbon by 2030.”

“It is imperative that we, as an industry, continue implementing solutions that support life longer-term for people, wildlife and biodiversity, and the planet as a whole,” the organization said.

While the Textile Exchange Team has cut all non-essential travel until further notice to prevent unknowingly spreading the virus, as well as to protect team members and their families, it is still “business-as-usual” to meet the organization’s main mission.

“As always, we continue being available to support our members and further the acceleration and uptake of Preferred Fiber and Materials,” it said. “Textile Exchange continues to convene and inspire the industry during this time. We will continue to deliver learning opportunities through digital tools, as well as continue to hope and have faith that our annual Textile Sustainability Conference will take place as planned in Dublin, Ireland on Nov. 3 to 6 with virtual attendance options added.”

In addition, Preferred Fiber and Material Round Tables and Working Groups are available for animal fibers, biosynthetics, cotton, home and hospitality, man-made cellulosics, recycled polyester and Textile Exchange standards. Textile Exchange also said that due to travel restrictions, on-site audits for its standards are not possible in many countries.

The Textile Exchange Team is working with certification bodies to develop solutions to maintain the credibility of standards through this time and its intent is that no certified company will lose its certification due to delays in auditing caused by COVID-19.