The non-profit organisation Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF) has developed
the world’s first standard for sustainably produced cashmere, called The
Good Cashmere Standard. It takes the cashmere goats’ welfare into account
while incorporating social and environmental standards in cashmere
Once a luxury product that was combed out by hand by nomadic herders
when the goats changed their coats in May, now cashmere has become a mass
market product that is no longer obtained naturally but by brutally pulling
out the goats’ hair on special farms. This is how it is possible to buy a
cashmere sweater at a discount store for 49.99 euros or 42 pounds instead
of more than 300 euros or 250 pounds at a luxury boutique.
The Good Cashmere Standard wants to stop this practice and joins the
current discussion about the welfare of the cashmere goats and the
increasing demand for transparency and corporate responsibility that this
natural product demands. “The Good Cashmere Standard improves the cashmere
production on many levels. It covers both the welfare of animals, the
protection of nature and the working conditions of farmers and farm
workers. It has been developed in close collaboration with animal-rights
specialists and independent cashmere-production experts,” says the
Foundation in a press release.
New cashmere standard campaigns for animal welfare, social change and
For now, the standard’s focus is on Inner Mongolia where it has started
off with 2,000 farmers. The cashmere goats here are kept by settled farmers
rather than roaming broad pastures with nomadic herders. The farmers are
certified only if proven to be in compliance with the standard’s criteria.
“The Good Cashmere Standard provides a standard for the important
resource cashmere. It meets increased consumer demand for sustainability,
quality and transparency. Many consumers want to be certain that the
textiles they purchase were produced in accordance with social and
environmental standards and that no animals were harmed in the process,”
confirms Tina Stridde, managing director of AbTF.
The way it works is that the cashmere farmers initially complete a
comprehensive series of questions about their livestock-keeping practices.
Based on the results, independent third parties then visit the farms to
verify the claims. They also check on the proper implementation of the
Brands and retailers join in
A key stakeholder for The Good Cashmere Standard is the Erdos Cashmere
Group, one of the largest producers of cashmere, based in Inner Mongolia.
“Erdos has been an important partner and supporter for the new standard
from the beginning and they will offer and process certified cashmere wool
already this year – in addition to four other producers,” says AbTF.
When it comes to brands and retailers, one of Germany’s leading cashmere
retailers, Peter Hahn, has brought in their expertise and is the first
retail partner of The Good Cashmere Standard. “We are thrilled to be
partnering with this new standard from the beginning. It meets our high
standards of animal welfare and environmental protection and creates
greater security for our customers and even more confidence in our company.
With The Good Cashmere Standard, we can offer them products made of
cashmere wool that meets the strict criteria of the standard for animal
welfare and environmental protection,” comments Patrizia Strupp, head of
sustainability at Peter Hahn.
The new standard now offers businesses their first opportunity to sell
products made from certified, sustainable cashmere wool from Inner
Mongolia. “The demand for The Good Cashmere Standard is correspondingly
great. This sends an important signal to the entire textile and fashion
sector,” adds Stridde. Apart from Peter Hahn, additional fashion brands
including Bestseller, H&M Group, Hugo Boss, J.Crew, Madewell and Lacoste
have already joined.
Photos: Erdos Cashmere Group, Aid by Trade Foundation,
Erdos Cashmere Group