Two key Argentina organisations –ProLana and the Industry Wool Federation which represents wool scourers, topmakers and exporters to adopt Textile Exchange’s Responsible Wool Standard (RWS) includes its language, content and best practices as a basis for the outreach to and training of regional farmers.
The RWS is a voluntary global standard that addresses the welfare of sheep and of the land they graze on. It aims to provide the industry with a tool to recognize the best practices of farmers, ensuring that wool comes from farms with a progressive approach to managing their land and from sheep that have been treated responsibly. The controversial practice of mulesing to suppress fly-strike in sheep is not allowed.
The RWS requires all sites to be certified, beginning with the wool farmers and through to the seller in the final business to business transaction. Usually the last stage to be certified is the garment manufacturer or brand.
Brands such as H&M, Patagonia, Eddie Bauer, Kathmandu, Marks & Spencer, Tchibo, Eileen Fisher, Ramblers Way and REI are among those involved in the RWS program.
RWS is being recognized at a national level to facilitate the adoption of improved sustainability practices.
The goal is that by 2018, the Argentine organizations will adapt its protocols to reflect the wording and intent of the RWS, train potential farmers and put a specific emphasis on shearing practices.
ProLana is a state-run national program that aims to help Argentine wool growers to improve quality, presentation and sale conditions, while the Industry Wool Federation is a national guild that represents the interests of scourers, top makers and exporters.
The government and guild will ultimately focus on alignment with RWS criteria and will provide support to facilitate certification to the RWS.
Textile Exchange, which is holding its Sustainability Conference this week in Potomac, Maryland, is a global non- profit that promotes the adoption of preferred fibres, integrity and standards and responsible supply networks.