Outdoor brands Patagonia, Eddie Bauer, REI, Vaude, Mountain Equipment Co-op, Deckers and Kathmandu, along with eight other textile companies, have made commitments to the Responsible Wool Standard (RWS).

Textile Exchange, a global non-profit organization that works closely with all sectors of the textile supply chain to find the best ways to minimize the negative impacts on people, air, water, animals and soil by the textile industry, received broad commitments from across the industry to the RWS, a voluntary global standard that addresses the welfare of sheep and of the land they graze on.

There are many wool suppliers who have expressed their own commitment to the Responsible Wool Standard: Rambler’s Way, Imperial Stock Ranch, New Merino Australia, Oviz 21, Chargeurs, ABMT Textiles, Lanas Trinidad and Lemprière.

Several other wool suppliers have participated in global training events with a focus on setting up an RWS supply chain. The RWS has been pilot audited, calibrated and applied to wool growing farms of different sizes, geographic regions and countries including Australia, New Zealand, the U.S., Argentina, China, the U.K. and South Africa.

In a step toward integrating the RWS into existing trading models, the RWS has been registered as a quality assurance scheme within the Australian Wool Exchange (AWEX) wool auction trading system. This step will allow woolgrowers and brokers in Australia to register their wool clips as RWS Certified and will appear in the auction catalogue as “RWS” so that wool buyers can easily identify RWS wool in the Australian auction system.

The RWS was released in June 2016 after two years of development with a large international working group comprised of producer groups, animal welfare groups, suppliers, brands and other stakeholders. For more information, visit responsiblewool.org/.

Textile Exchange has developed and maintains a number of industry standards, including the Responsible Down Standard, the Organic Content Standard, the Recycled Claim Standard and the Global Recycled Standard. It is headquartered in the U.S. with staff and ambassadors located in 11 countries. To learn more about Textile Exchange, visit textileexchange.org.