The first items of clothing labelled with the Responsible Wool Standard have gone on sale at retailers globally.

The Responsible Wool Standard was released in June 2016 by the Textile Exchange. The goals of the standard are to provide the industry with the best possible tool to recognise the best practices of farmers around the globe; create an industry benchmark for animal care and land management; ensure wool comes from farms with a progressive approach to managing their land, and from sheep that have been treated responsibly; and provide a robust chain of custody system from farm to final product.

H&M’s brand Arket has committed to only using RWS or recycled wool in all its products by 2022. Its first RWS certified products launched last month in Arket stores and feature wool from Uruguay and Australia. 

“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,” says Karin Brinck, sustainability manager, Arket. “This is a way for Arket to contribute to a more traceable and responsible supply chain both for the animals and their environment.” 

Meanwhile, Eileen Fisher has debuted RWS certified garments that use wool from New Zealand and Argentina.

“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,” asserts company founder Eileen Fisher.

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UK high street retailer Marks and Spencer has also launched its first RWS-certified products in its menswear range.

The wool is traceable back to a network of wools of New Zealand farms where it is grown.

Phil Townsend, raw materials specialist at Marks & Spencer, says: “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.”