RWS Responsible Wool Standard is finalised for certification
The Responsible Wool Standard (RWS) has been finalized and is available for certification. The Standard is 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.
Developed through an International Working Group in an open, multi-stakeholder process, the Standard provides the industry with a tool to ensure sheep are raised with respect to their Five Freedoms, prohibits mulesing, and includes strict guidelines on other practices such as tail docking, shearing, and on-farm slaughter. Farms will be required to have strict management practices in place for the protection of land used for raising sheep.
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 refine the auditing 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, making it available for release.
We are currently working to approve Certification Bodies to certify to the RWS. The list of approved CBs will be updated on a regular basis online: http://responsiblewool.org/
Textile Exchange is hosting several events in the upcoming months to help companies on their path to implementing the standard in their product lines.