Developed in response to public outcry surrounding graphic videos of animal cruelty captured by PETA in South America, the Texas-based Textile Exchange created the Responsible Wool Standard (RWS) to nudge ranchers worldwide toward more humane, better-for-the-environment practices and give brands a semaphore for mindful sourcing.
Developed over the course of years with the help of animal welfare organizations, farmers, brands and suppliers, the Responsible Wool Standard (RWS) is a rigorous global certification that requires growers to adhere to 270 criteria regarding animal welfare, land health and social responsibility while also mandating documentation and annual third-party, in-person audits.
“It’s not subject to greenwashing,” Mary Jeanne Packer of Battenkill Fibers said of her decision to develop a sock yarn sourced from RWS-certified American fiber. “There are a lot of other branding systems that are subjective. RWS is verifiable.”
Theos Swallow Fork Ranch in Meeker, Colorado, is one of the family ranches that have become RWS-certified and joined Shaniko Wool Company. Photo courtesy of Shaniko Wool Company