What is the Responsible Wool Standard?

By Alex Guerrero

Wool is a classic for a reason. It has a great range of technical benefits and that’s why we utilise it in our cold-weather products like our jumpers and beanies. As part of our continuing efforts to be an ethical company, our RathlinTryfan and Brenin and Idwal all use 100% Responsible Wool Standard (RWS) certified lambswool.


Why Do We Need the Responsible Wool Standard?

 

Wool is a natural, technical fibre. And it's a sustainable choice thanks to being renewable, biodegradable and recyclable. But being ethical and sustainable is not that simple. As part of our six sustainability principles, we want to respect our environment. But choosing sustainable, natural fibres shouldn't mean that animals experience harm. Animal welfare can be a serious issue in some wool supply chains, where animals can be harmed and treated without respect. This is where the Responsible Wool Standard comes in.

two climbers wearing wool jumpers


What is the Responsible Wool Standard?


It’s a voluntary program that helps sheep farmers meet consumer, retailer, and brand demands. The standard certifies they meet rigorous animal welfare and land management requirements.

  1. Protecting animal welfare – the five freedoms of sheep are protected.
  2. Preserving land health – soil health, biodiversity and native species are protected with progressive land management methods
  3. Protecting social welfare – health, safety and working conditions of workers are protected
  4. Chain of custody – the identity of RWS wool is maintained from farm to final product. This includes the farm, trader, sourcing, yarn, fabric and garment.
  5. Credible certification – a third party independently audits each stage in the supply chain
  6. Stakeholder engagement – the RWS was developed with the help of farmers, animal welfare experts, land conservation experts, brands and retailers worldwide

 
The Five Freedoms


All of our wool products are certified with the RWS, meaning they protect the five freedoms of sheep. The ‘Five Freedoms’ is an industry-wide term used to ensure animal welfare standards on farms. Animals must be free from:

  1. Hunger and thirst
  2. Discomfort
  3. Fear and distress
  4. Pain and injury
  5. And free to behave normally.

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