WHAT IS RWS?
RWS stands for Responsible Wool Standard, which is a standard that addresses the welfare of sheep and the land they graze on. The RWS is a solid standard that verifies the best practices in animal welfare and land management that farmers are implementing including handling, nutrition, medical treatments, and sustainable land management. The RWS certificate only applies to fabrics that contain 100% virgin wool. Nooteboom Textiles cares about the wellbeing of sheep all over the world and expects all wool suppliers to be RWS certified.
The goal of the Responsible Wool Standard is to provide the textile industry with a trademark to recognize the best and most reliable farmers. Farmers are checked for all elements of production such as lambing, adoption, tailing, castration, and shearing, but also for sustainability such as soil health, biodiversity, and native species. All processing steps must be certified to make sure the chain of custody is maintained to the last level of production. Every year a professional third-party certification body audits each stage of the supply chain, which assures you that our RWS certified wool came from animals that were ethically treated.
WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR FARMS TO MAKE RWS CERTIFIED WOOL?
Every farmer who produces RWS certified wool must have a progressive approach to land management and respect the Five Freedoms of animal welfare.
1. Soil health; Farmers must monitor soil compaction, erosion and organic matter;
2. Chemicals; Hazardous materials are forbidden to use on the land sheep graze on;
3. Biodiversity; Farmers must monitor invasive alien species of flora or fauna on the farm;
4. Ecosystem; Conversion of natural ecosystems to agriculture land is prohibited;
5. Fertilizer; Farmers must follow a fertilizer management strategy which is reviewed annually.
Five Freedoms of animal welfare;
1. Freedom from hunger or thirst; Animals must always have access to clean water and a diet to maintain full health;
2. Freedom from discomfort; Animals must have an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area;
3. Freedom from pain, injury, or disease; Animals must have health care like rapid diagnosis and treatment;
4. Freedom to express (most) normal behavior; Animals must have sufficient space, proper facilities, and company of animals of their own kind;
5. Freedom from fear and distress; Animals must be free of mental suffering and must receive treatments to avoid mental suffering.
WHY SHOULD I INVEST IN RWS CERTIFIED FABRICS?
The RWS requires all companies involved in the supply chain to be certified, beginning with the wool farmers and all the way through to the shop or garment manufacturer. Every year a professional third-party certification body audits each stage of the supply chain, which assures you that our RWS certified wool came from animals that were ethically treated. By investing in RWS certified fabrics you show your customers that you care about fair trade, sustainability, and the wellbeing of sheep all over the world. Let’s take small steps together towards a better world!