TEXAS – The first garments made with wool from Responsible Wool Standard (RWS) certified farms are now in stores. UK retailer Marks & Spencer, US fashion brands Eileen Fisher and Arket, part of the H&M Group, have all announced RWS certified garments as the Textile Exchange standard extends its global reach. The RWS is a voluntary global standard that addresses the welfare of sheep and their grazing habitats. Launched in 2016, there are now RWS certified farms in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the United States, Argentina and Uruguay, as well as certified manufacturers across the world.
Eileen Fisher recently released its first RWS certified garments made of wool from New Zealand and Argentina. Founder Eileen Fisher said: “I believe that the only way we’ll have a more responsible industry is if we help lead the change. That means engaging with partners who share our values—other brands, our suppliers and our customers. And that’s how we approached responsible wool: by partnering with Textile Exchange and the right farms.”
Marks & Spencer has also launched its first products made from RWS certified wool in menswear. The wool is traceable back to a network of Wools of New Zealand farms where it was grown, including Palliser Ridge. Phil Townsend, raw materials specialist at Marks & Spencer, said: “We’re proud to be one of the first retailers to launch an RWS certified items and to have played a significant role in its development with Textile Exchange and other committed partners. This is an important milestone as part of our ongoing Plan A commitment to be more transparent about our suppliers and ensure our raw materials come from more sustainable sources, which respect people, communities, the planet and animal welfare.”
H&M Group has made a commitment to only using RWS or recycled wool in all of its products by the end of 2022. Its first RWS certified products have launched in Arket stores featuring wool from Uruguay and Australia.
Karin Brinck, sustainability manager, Arket, said: “Wool is central to our assortment as it is both beautiful and durable. We are therefore very excited to introduce the Responsible Wool Standard (RWS) in our A/W 2018 collections with garments and accessories made with certified merino and raw wool. This is a way for ARKET to contribute to a more traceable and responsible supply chain both for the animals and their environment.”