MSA works with Textile Exchange to release a draft Mohair Responsible Standard
09 April 2019
Mohair South Africa is proud to be working with Textile Exchange in developing an international mohair standard. Whilst the industry has been governed by its own Sustainable Guidelines since 2009, the importance of an international standard made this evolution inevitable. It is our aim to provide the global market with the promise of responsible farming and production.
“Mohair South Africa are committed to continuously improve the mohair industry throughout the entire value chain, working alongside all sector stakeholders to provide clear and transparent evidence of an ethical and responsible industry. It was our great pleasure to host Textile Exchange and the visiting brands in South Africa, and we look forward to a fruitful and mutually beneficial partnership in the future.”
– Lindsay Humphreys, General Manager, Mohair South Africa
Objectives of the Responsible Mohair Standard
Over the past decade, Mohair South Africa has focused on promoting a sustainable luxury fibre, efforts which have intensified over the past few months. We are working closely with Textile Exchange (a global non-profit that drives industry transformation in preferred fibres, integrity and standards, and responsible supply networks) to incorporate the existing Sustainable Production Guidelines into the internationally-recognised Responsible Wool Standard protocol. Textile Exchange 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 the world’s water, soil and air, and the human population.
The goals of the Responsible Mohair Standard is to provide the industry with a tool to recognise mohair farmers using best practices, ensuring that mohair is produced at farms with a progressive approach to managing their land and a commitment to treating their goats ethically and responsibly.
The RMS development process
Textile Exchange follows the ISEAL Codes of Good Practice for standard-setting bodies to ensure that they have a robust and transparent process for our standards.
Their highest priorities are to include all parties that may be affected by the standard, and to create a tool that balances strict requirements with realistic and auditable criteria. The development of the standard will be done through an International Working Group, representing the full spectrum of interested parties, including animal welfare groups, brands, farmers, supply chain members and industry associations, as well as brands and retailers.
Draft Mohair Responsible Standard released for stakeholder consultation
Exploring the mohair supply chain
As part of the process of developing a standard, Mohair South Africa invited Textile Exchange and brand representatives from Filippa K and member brands Acne and John Lewis on a field trip to learn about the mohair supply chain. The trip explored each stage of the mohair value chain, with a particular focus on visiting farms and meeting with farmers to better understand how animal welfare and land health is managed and how the draft Responsible Mohair Standard could be applied.
“It was very encouraging to see that Mohair South Africa and the farms are working hard towards a responsible mohair standard. Knowing that all the farms have been audited, and that the next step is a third party accreditation, will bring us closer to a sustainable supply chain.”
– Doreen Chiang, Filippa K
“The passion and commitment at every stage of the mohair supply chain, from the farmers and their families through to the people working in the brokers, processing plants and spinners was very clear to see. Meeting the vet who supports farmers in adopting best practices in animal welfare was very impressive and it was invaluable to get his views and input into the draft RMS (Responsible Mohair Standard). John Lewis and Partners works to ensure that the highest standards of animal welfare are achieved and that is why we are proud to be involved with Mohair South Africa and the Textile Exchange in the development of the new RMS (Responsible Mohair Standard).”
– Karen Perry, Partner & Sustainability Manager, Raw Materials, John Lewis
We are excited to work with all of you to develop an international Responsible Mohair Standard that will provide the industry with a way of ensuring that the mohair being used is produced in a sustainable and ethical manner.
The Mohair SA team
MSA Partner with Textile Exchange to Launch the Responsible Mohair Standard
09 April 2019
The Launch of the Responsible Mohair Standard (RMS)
South Africa takes pride in being the world leader in mohair production and shows its commitment to the mohair industry through the development of a sustainable and ethical mohair standard. Mohair South Africa partnered with Textile Exchange, a global non-profit organisation that specialises in intricately developing standards based on best practices, animal and social welfare.
Textile Exchange, whose members include luxury brands and retailers from around the world, have worked closely with Mohair South Africa and the local mohair industry, to develop a standard that would assist the global mohair value chain to ensure responsible sourcing at all levels.
On the 17th March 2020, the Responsible Mohair Standard (RMS) was officially Launched, opening up a world of opportunity for the future of the mohair industry. Sustainability is a key factor in any industry and is one that has always played a vital role in the South African mohair industry. Over a decade ago, in 2009, the Sustainable Mohair Production Guidelines were introduced to the industry and saw the adoption of around 97% of South African mohair farmers. The partnership with Textile Exchange, and a renewed focus on a sustainable and ethical industry, allowed for a natural progression for the SA mohair industry to introduce a global standard.
The RMS was developed with keen pointers from our market, to ensure farming practices meet the progressive sustainability requirements of brands and retailers globally.
Textile Exchange released a statement noting that the Responsible Mohair Standard (RMS) follows the model of the Responsible Wool Standard (RWS), one of the world’s most widely adopted standards for wool production. “The newly released Responsible Mohair Standard verifies and identifies mohair produced in farming systems that respects animal welfare and the environment. The RMS applies a strong assurance system to perform regular audits of the farms and to track the material to the final product. The RMS is designed to ensure that animal welfare outcomes are delivered and that the goats are humanely treated, healthy, and well cared for,” stated Hanna Denes, Senior Manager of Standards at Textile Exchange.
“The Mohair partnership with Textile Exchange, the support of global brands & retailers, and the progressive approach of the South African Mohair industry will ensure the long-term growth and improvement of the sector. With sustainability being our core focus, we believe that shared knowledge and a vigorous commitment to continuous improvement are crucial ingredients for the future success of the industry. For us, sustainability is considered a journey, which we will continue to grow and improve on” commented Humphreys, General Manager of Mohair South Africa.
The Responsible Mohair Standard aims to provide the industry with the tools to recognise the best practices of farmers and to ensure that mohair comes from farms with an advanced approach to land management, animal welfare, and social responsibility. Beyond the farm, it also aims to provide a system of traceability throughout the entire value chain – from the farm to the finished product.
Mohair producers can apply for RMS certification through their brokers. The brokers will assign accredited auditors that will visit their farms and measure their practices against the principles set out in the RMS. If the producer passes the audit, they will receive RMS status on the mohair they produce and sell at official mohair auctions in Port Elizabeth.
“The RMS helps everyone identify areas of growth on their farms and in their businesses. The basis that everyone’s facilities and practices need to adhere to a minimum standard is an outstanding idea and we support it whole-heartedly” said Marx Strydom, mohair producer from the Jansenville region in the Eastern Cape. “Our journey is by no means over, and we now enter into a whole new chapter to drive the RMS through our local value chains so that consumers can access responsibly produced products easily and with confidence” concluded Humphreys.
For more information, visit: www.responsiblemohair.org
The Mohair SA team