While the South African mohair industry has been governed by its own sustainable guidelines since 2009, the global industry has been made aware of the need for an international standard. This realisation has led to cooperation between Mohair South Africa and Textile Exchange in developing an international mohair standard. The aim is to give the global market a promise of responsible farming and production.

“Mohair South Africa is committed to continuously improving 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,” said Lindsay Humphreys, general manager of Mohair South Africa.

Objectives of the responsible mohair standard

The cooperation is aimed at incorporating 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 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 are 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 top 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

The draft responsible mohair standard is currently piloted on farms. Findings from pilot audits of the draft responsible mohair standard will be used to inform the development of the draft standard. A public stakeholder consultation on both the responsible wool standard and the draft responsible mohair standard is now open for 30 days. To provide feedback, or to learn more about the development process and how to get involved, please visit www.responsiblewool.org

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,” said Doreen Chiang, of Filippa K.

“The passion and commitment at every stage of the mohair supply chain, from the farmers and their families to the brokers, processing plants and spinners was very clear. Meeting the vet who supports farmers in adopting best practices in animal welfare was 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,” said Karen Perry, partner sustainability manager, John Lewis. – Press release