I bet if you ask 5 people what 'sustainable' means, you'll get 5 different answers. Do you include maintaining soil quality? Bio diversity? The five freedoms for animal welfare? Looking after herders? What about regeneration? Unfortunately the sustainable label is a buzzword very easily bandied about: I've questioned so many suppliers about their claims and been disappointed more times than I can remember. One would-be supplier said that sustainable meant their sheep weren't museled. A rather low bar...
It took me a decade to find a supply chain that could prove what it claimed, had stock that I could buy, and availability of that stock when I needed it.
Don't take my word for it, no greenwashing here! These are the certifications my cashmere holds:
Good Cashmere Standard: a certification which stands for sustainably sourced cashmere from farms where goats are treated responsibly, the environment is protected and the social, ecological and economic living conditions of cashmere farmers and their families are respected. The Good Cashmere Standard is an initiative of the Aid by Trade Foundation with the aim of creating, promoting and implementing a benchmark standard for sustainable cashmere.
The Sustainable Fibre Alliance (SFA): a non-profit international organisation working with the extended cashmere supply chain, from herders to retailers. Their goal is to promote a global sustainability standard for cashmere production in order to preserve and restore grasslands, ensure animal welfare and secure livelihoods.
Responsible Wool Standard (RWS): this certification ensures that the wool comes from farms with a progressive approach to managing their land and treat their sheep responsibly. The goals of the RWS are to provide a tool to recognise the best practices of farmers to ensure wool comes from farms that uphold the highest environmental, ethical and socially responsibly standards.
Control Union World Group: CU certification and Organic Standard: in accordance with the standard of organic regulations of the United States and the European Union, animal husbandry is carried out in a natural and green way. No chemical fertiliser or pesticide is used on the whole farm, and genetically modified forage is prohibited.
ISO9001 - quality management systems and best practice
ISO14001 - quality and the environment
OKEO-Tex Standard 100 (EU Trusted Textiles)
GOTS Organic Textile Standard
Global Recycled Standard
Five Freedoms as defined by the Animal Welfare Council:
1. Freedom from hunger and thirst
2. Freedom from injury and disease
3. Freedom of comfortable liviing
4. Freedom to express nature
5. Freedom from fear or pain