A commitment to sustainability by the South African mohair industry
26 June 2019
Soft, lush, warm and timeless; it’s hard to imagine mohair as anything other than pure luxury. Furthermore the story behind the production of this sought-after fibre is just as beautiful – considering the lives, both human and animal, the industry touches.
South Africa produces around 50% of the world’s mohair, supporting around 800 farms and approximately 30 000 dependents across the entire industry. For more than a century South African Angora goat farms have been at the centre of the fibre’s production, making use of the skills and knowledge passed down from one generation of farmers to the next.
Angora goat farming is a family tradition, and caring for the industry comes with a great responsibility for current and future generations. As such, mohair production in South Africa is a national legacy as much as it is a commercial enterprise.
Mohair South Africa (MSA), a global non-profit organisation, was established with this legacy in mind. Its responsibility is maintaining and developing the high standards of the industry – ensuring the continuous responsible and ethical production of mohair while offering support to the mohair sector.
Mohair is a natural, renewable resource, and its production works in absolute harmonywith nature. To this end MSA introduced Sustainable Guidelines in 2009, and the organisation’s ongoing commitment has led it to partner with Textile Exchange in developing international mohair standards, that is currently being developed with one goal in mind: taking these guidelines to a higher level with the promise of responsible farming and mohair production to the global market.
Textile Exchange is a global non-profit that drives industry transformation in preferred fibres, integrity and standards, and responsible supply networks. The organisation identifies and shares best practices regarding farming, materials, processing, traceability and product end-of-life, in order to reduce the textile industry’s impact on our planet’s water, soil, air and human population.
The goals of the new Responsible Mohair Standard is to provide the industry with a toolto easily recognise mohair farmers using best practices, ensuring that the fibre is produced at farms with a progressive approach to managing their land and a commitment to treating their goats both ethically and responsibly.
When purchasing a South African mohair product you’re enabling sustainable, ethical farming practices, and supporting a country, an industry, and, more importantly, thousands of farmers and families dependent on this noble fibre.