Mohair South Africa Announces Launch of Responsible Mohair Standard (RMS)

 

A substantial journey has been travelled to reach this day. South Africa is the global leader in mohair production – and Mohair South Africa have pursued the development of Responsible Mohair Standards to drive a sustainable and ethical mohair industry.

“It is with a great excitement, that we announce the launch of the Responsible Mohair Standard (RMS), developed by the global non-profit, Textile Exchange”, stated Lindsay Humphreys – General Manager & Head of Sustainability of Mohair South Africa.

Textile Exchange, whose members include several brands and retailers, specialise in the development of codes of best practice and has been working closely with the South African mohair industry to develop a standard that would assist the global mohair value chain to ensure responsible sourcing from an industry that drives sustainable and ethical production practices.

Sustainable Mohair Production Guidelines were first introduced to the industry in 2009 and have been successfully adopted with 97% of South African mohair farmers complying. It was a natural progression for the industry to introduce a global standard, developed in partnership with our market, to ensure farming practices meet the progressive sustainability goals of global brands and retailers.

In a statement released from their USA office yesterday, Textile Exchange noted that the Responsible Mohair Standard (RMS) follows the model of the Responsible Wool Standard (RWS), one of the world’s most widely adopted standards for wool production.

“The newly released Responsible Mohair Standard verifies and identifies mohair produced in farming systems that respects animal welfare and the environment. The RMS applies a strong assurance system to perform regular audits of the farms and to track the material to the final product. The RMS is designed to ensure that animal welfare outcomes are delivered, and that the goats are humanely treated, healthy and well cared for,” stated Hanna Denes, Senior Manager of Standards at Textile Exchange.

Denes added that it was heartening to see the passion shared by all the people involved in the industry – from the farmers who tend to animals and their land, to the mills processing the fibre, the brands making mohair products, and the industry associations engaging with all involved to develop solutions.

Humphreys commented that the Mohair partnership with Textile Exchange, the support of global brands & retailers and the progressive approach of the South African Mohair Industry will ensure the long-term growth and improvement of the sector.

“With sustainability being our core focus, we believe that shared knowledge and a vigorous commitment to continuous improvement are crucial ingredients for the future success of the industry. For us, sustainability is considered a journey, which we will continue to grow and improve on” said Humphreys.

The goals of the Responsible Mohair Standard are to provide the industry with the tools to recognise the best practices of farmers and to ensure that mohair comes from farms with an advanced approach to land management, animal welfare and social responsibility. Beyond the farm, it also aims to provide a system of traceability throughout the entire value chain – from farm to finished product. Mohair producers can apply for RMS certification through their brokers. Accredited auditors from third party certification bodies will visit their farms and measure their practices against the principles set out in the RMS, and if they pass the audit, they will receive RMS status on the mohair they produce and sell at official mohair auctions in Port Elizabeth.

“The RMS helps everyone identify areas of growth on their farms and in their businesses. The basis that everyone’s facilities and practices need to adhere to a minimum standard is an outstanding idea and we support it whole-heartedly” said Marx Strydom, mohair producer from the Jansenville region in the Eastern Cape.

“Our journey is by no means over, and we now enter into a whole new chapter to drive RMS through our local value chains so that consumers can access responsibly produced products easily and with confidence” concluded Humphreys.

For more information, visit: www.responsiblemohair.org

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