The Sustainable Fibre Alliance is a global multi-stakeholder initiative with a mission to ensure the long-term viability of the cashmere sector.
We promote the SFA Cashmere Standard to encourage the adoption of responsible production practices that minimise environmental impact, safeguard herder livelihoods and meet high animal welfare standards.
Covid- 19 Action Plan for Mongolia The economic impacts of Covid-19 on herding families are considerable and concerning. Given herders high reliance on cashmere fibre, the dramatic fall in cashmere price is expected to have direct negative impacts on herders’ economic security and well-being, along with indirect impacts on animal welfare. This plan outlines our proposal for a collaborative response to these impacts that will also help prepare the Mongolian cashmere sector for future shocks. Click here to find out more.
The SFA works with the end to end cashmere supply chain, connecting herders to brands and retailers in the global fashion industry. We offer a globally-focused, locally-adapted solution for sustainable cashmere.
We promote the SFA Cashmere Standard to encourage the adoption of responsible practices that benefit people, livestock and the environment. Our standard allows companies to demonstrate their commitment to transforming the cashmere sector and make credible claims about the sustainability of their cashmere products.
Our approach is
Market-led and grassroots We provide a voice for the cashmere industry and a deep understanding of rangeland systems and the challenges facing the livestock herders.
Inclusive Our membership brings together the whole cashmere supply chain, from herders and farmers to traders, processors, manufacturers, brands and retailers.
Evidence-based Our work is holistic and adaptive, incorporating social-ecological research with local traditional knowledge and best practice.
Collaborative We work with others who share a common vision for cashmere, pooling our resources to maximise our impact on the ground.
The Nutag Framework
In Mongolian, nutag describes the concept of ‘homeplace’. It encompasses the herders’ nomadic culture, ancestral history and wealth of traditional knowledge, along with cultural norms of rangeland governance and use. In short, everything about pastoral life is described through the lens of nutag.
We believe that for cashmere production to be truly sustainable, we must look at the whole system. This includes environmental impact, herder well-being and animal welfare. This principle of holistic sustainability is at the heart of nutag and the heart of our approach. Our Nutag Framework incorporates local, traditional knowledge with scientific knowledge and best practice, in order to promote resilience for herders and the environment.
“Seeing the dramatic change of the landscape I knew as a child in Mongolia spurred me on to set up the SFA, I wanted to bring cashmere companies together to create a sustainable future for the environment and those living off the land.”
Una Jones, SFA founder and CEO
The SFA was co-founded with country director, Dr Batkhishig Baival, who over 20 years developed the ‘Nutag framework’. The framework is based on resource management and traditional knowledge and scientific knowledge and forms the foundation for the SFA’s work with herders and its Codes of Practice.
Johnstons of Elgin and Burberry are the pioneering SFA Members that have been with us from day one.
The Chain of Custody pilot traces 90 tonnes of fibre through the cashmere supply chain, from herder through to finished garment.
Khan Bogd Cashmere is the first processor to be accredited against the Clean Fibre Processing Code of Practice.
SFA x ICCAW (International Cooperation Committee of Animal Welfare). A joint code of practice is developed for the care of cashmere goats in farms in Inner Mongolia.
RSPCA accompanies the SFA on a scoping mission to Inner Mongolia to look at the expansion of SFA’s work into the region.
Development of the Clean Fibre Processing Code of Practice.
SFA takes part in the first cashmere blockchain pilot.
New Members: C&A Erdos, John Lewis & Partners, Yuteng Cashmere, China King Deer, The Scheider Group, MTR, Manifattua Tesssile Risaliti, Khan Bogd, Novetex, Falconeri, Artwell, J.crew, Madewell.
The first herding community is verified against SFA’s Code of Practice.
SFA recruits and trains 48 new Rangeland Managers in 28 communities to manage land biodiversity.
The Monitoring and Evaluation mechanism is established ensuring the credibility of the SFA standard.
Khaan Bank (Mongolia’s largest regional bank) offers preferential loan rates to SFA registered herders to reward sustainable practices.
Launch of the Johnstons of Elgin Young Herder Training Programme to support young people and give them access to skills and knowledge and help reverse the declining number of young herders in the industry.
2018 – SFA’s first Sustainability Awards takes place to recognise the achievements of SFA herders, it is sponsored by Johnstons of Elgin.
New Members: Inditex, Robert todd, Cashmere holding company, Brodie fine cashmere, The London Cashmere Company.
The SFA now works in 11 provinces in Mongolia with 28 herding communities, working with 3,843 herding household to manage their land. Over 300,000 cashmere goats produce 75 tons of cashmere fibre produced by SFA certified herder communities.
The SFA standard is implemented by 8 herder cooperatives, reaching out to 346 herder households in 7 regions across Mongolia
The Scientific and Technical Committee (STC) is established, made up of well-respected scientists and experts in the field of conservation and pasture management. The committee comes together to advise and share information on good practices in rangeland management.
SFA’s first international conference was held in Ulaanbaatar and was attended by 160 delegates from 12 countries.
Sustainable Financing for a Sustainable Cashmere Project is established with funding from the British Foreign and Common Wealth Office.
The SFA develops its Rangeland Stewardship and Animal Husbandry Codes of Practice in collaboration.
Following consultations on the codes of practice, training materials and programmes are produced.
Andy Wilkes joins as a board director. An economist and anthropologist with over 10 years experience working on community-based rangeland management in Asia.
SFA board is joined by Ruchira Joshi, a senior executive with twelve years of international experience working at board level and with CEOs in sustainable development.
The Sustainable Fibre Alliance (SFA) is established with pioneering companies including Johnstons of Elgin and Burberry to lead the way in a building a cashmere industry that is sustainable.
Alison Rodwell joins SFA as chair of the board. Alison has a solid track record in implementing board governance, financial strategy and complex stakeholder engagement. Alison is an expert in mitigating against risk, both reputational, and ethical, environmental and social risks, through the implementation of frameworks and assurance processes.
Board of Directors
Andreas has worked on community-based rangeland management and livestock development in China, Mongolia and Central Asia for more than 15 years. He has managed rangeland management programmes for NGOs Chinese and international NGOs and research institutes. He has also advised governments in the region through the Asian Development Bank, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, as well as the bilateral development agencies of Switzerland, Germany and the UK. He leads the development of the Rangeland Stewardship Code of Practice and is now developing a joint code of practice on animal welfare in collaboration with ICCAW. Andreas has training in anthropology and economics and holds a PhD in environmental anthropology.
Charles Hubbard is the Chair of the SFA Board and has over 10 years experience at senior manager level in the skills development sector of the UK fashion and textiles industry. His expertise in standard development, accreditation systems and quality assurance supports the SFA at a strategic and operational level in the UK and Mongolia. Charles became a Trustee in 2015 and became SFA Chair in 2017, working with the SFA Board and staff to promote methods of producing sustainable cashmere fibre for use by international fashion brands. Currently, he is leading the SFA response to the coronavirus pandemic. He is a participant on UN sub-committee overseeing their response to the effects of Covid-19 in Mongolia.
Eleni is a Responsibility Programme Manager at Burberry, one of the most recognised global luxury brands. Eleni joined Burberry in 2020 and is responsible for Burberry’s natural raw material programmes, animal welfare, water stewardship and biodiversity. In 2017, Burberry launched a new five-year responsibility strategy for both its corporate and philanthropic activities. The new strategy is designed to drive positive change and build a more sustainable future with goals for 2022 that sit across Burberry’s entire footprint.
Prior to joining Burberry Eleni worked at a professional services firm as Manager of UKs Sustainability and Climate Change practice, focusing on environmental impact measurement and valuation.
Ruchira is a senior executive with seventeen years of international experience working at board level and with CEOs in the field of sustainable development, with a focus on raw material sourcing. She is a UK Country Director at IDH – the Sustainable Trade Initiative. Previously she has held a variety of roles including Head of Responsible Sourcing at ASOS, Programme Director at Better Cotton Initiative; and Manager in the Sustainability &Climate Change Practice at PWC Consulting. Ruchira offers outstanding expertise in the areas of strategy development, supplier engagement on social and environmental issues and complex stakeholder management. She is an excellent team leader, with experience building and working with geographically dispersed teams with a 700+ global member network. She leads the SFA Chain of Custody Working Group. She is passionate about the role of business in creating more sustainable and resilient communities. Ruchira became a Board member of the SFA in 2017.
Simon is Chief Executive of Johnstons of Elgin, founded in 1797 and the first company to import and mechanically process cashmere back in the 1850’s. Johnstons of Elgin is a largest fully vertical manufacturer in the UK, buying clean cashmere fibre and processing this all the way to finished garments and accessories at their mills in Scotland. Simon is a board member of the UK Fashion Textile Association and a Chair of Scottish Textile Industry Leadership Group. He is a powerful voice on sustainability and progressive change in fashion textiles industry and a visiting professor at Robert Gordon University.
Born in Mongolia and now living in the UK, Una founded the Sustainable Fibre Alliance in 2015, having worked as a market analyst in a diverse set of industries. Her motivation for starting the SFA was to stop the destruction of her homeland and improve the livelihoods of Mongolian herders, ensuring that herding remains a viable option for future generations. Una’s passion is identifying opportunities to enhance and widen the SFA’s positive impact across cashmere-producing regions and along the extended cashmere supply chain.
Zara joined the SFA in June 2019 following the completion of her Phd where she studied the social and ecological impacts of rising cashmere production on Mongolian wildlife and pastoral livelihoods. Initially brought on to lead in the development of the SFA’s 2030 Strategy, she was promoted to Operations Manager in February 2020. She brings a diverse range of experience in academic research and project management to the team, having worked at NGOs and multi-stakeholder initiatives in New Zealand, Malawi, Borneo and the UK. Her aim is to help bridge the gaps between academia, practitioners and the private sector in order to tackle global sustainability challenges.
Standards & Compliance Manager
Lesley joined The SFA in 2018. She worked in assessment and quality assurance of training and qualifications for several years and is a qualified Assessor and External Verifier, as well as an experienced Product Manager. Her skills are in training and qualification development, delivery, quality assurance and management, along with communication, negotiation, IT and administration. Lesley’s role is to manage the SFA Cashmere Standard and to ensure that our policies and processes comply with international guidelines. She is also responsible for ensuring that herders and processors are compliant with the SFA’s codes of practice.
Public Relations Manager
Bataa joined the SFA in 2018. A Mongolian national, born and raised in the Mongolian countryside, Bataa has a deep knowledge and understanding of nomadic culture. He did his MSc in Business and Economic Forecasting at Kingston University in the UK. Bataa’s role is to assist SFA projects by bringing people and ideas together and to provide the necessary support to the SFA Team and members in the UK. Anything related to Mongolia, Bataa can make it happen.
Content Producer and Communications
With a background in making documentaries for television, Fiona works with the SFA teams in the UK and Mongolia in both a strategic and creative capacity. Her role involves the production of engaging content for a diverse audience, including videos of herder life, monthly member bulletins and multi-stakeholder webinars. She brings an enthusiastic and pragmatic approach to ideas and productions, and has a knack for explaining complex issues by putting people at the heart.
Co-founder of the SFA, Batkhishig was appointed as Country Director of SFA Mongolia in 2015. Her expertise is in coupled human-environmental systems, with a particular focus on rural herding communities in Mongolia. She has qualifications in rangeland science, community-based resource management and adaptive capacity building. Prior to joining the SFA she worked for the United Nations Development Programme, managed several large-scale conservation and development projects and consulted to various bilateral and international donor organisations and corporations. She completed her Masters in Biotechnology at the University of Manchester in 1998, followed by a PhD in Rangeland Ecosystem Science at Colorado State, USA.
Altanzul is a rangeland /compliance/ specialist at SFA Mongolia. She advices producer organizations and other stakeholders on compliance with the Code of Practices and helps create effective action plans in response to audit discoveries and compliance violations. She also contributes to the capacity building of assessors and trainers. Previously, Altanzul worked on foreign donor project specialized in pastureland degradation, project implementation and ecological research in collaboration with UNDP and ADB. She graduated from the Mongolian State University of Agriculture and holds PhD in rangeland science.
Odgarav has been working for the SFA since its operations started in 2015. Her role has involved managing the compliance assessments of herders and researchers in the Animal Welfare and Rangeland Management Codes of Practice, as well as organising training and preparing manuals. Odgarav also managed the working group which focused on the compliance assessment for the Clean Fibre Processing Code of Practice. Before joining the SFA, Odgarav worked in various roles with NGOs and the Mongolian Environmental Ministry having achieved a Master’s degree in meteorology and hydrology.
Communications and Membership Specialist
Bolormaa works as the communication and membership specialist in Mongolia and is the conduit between the UK and Mongolian teams, seamlessly sharing information between the two teams. Bolormaa has over 20 years of work experience in the international development, commercial and not-for-profit sectors. Her experience includes managing the Australian Volunteers for International Development (AVID) Program in Mongolia. Bolormaa holds an MA from the National University of Mongolia in international relations.
TRAINING & CAPACITY BUILDING OFFICER
Baasanjargal (‘Baska’) is the Training and Capacity Building Officer at the SFA Mongolia Office. She is responsible for mapping out annual training programmes, selecting appropriate training methods, conducting training assessments and identifying skills and knowledge gaps that need to be addressed. She designs and prepares educational aids and materials and gathers post-training feedback to improve our training approach. She holds a BSc in Agriculture Management from the Mongolian State University of Agriculture and completed her Master of Science degree in Agricultural and Resource Economics at the Kangwon National University in South Korea.
Data & Systems Officer
Tamiraa Lkhagvasuren works as a Finance Manager at the SFA Mongolia office, bringing over 14 years of experience in project financial management to the team. He is responsible for the preparation of monthly and quarterly financial statements, and assists in data profiling and facilitating the development of our database system. Tamriaa’s previous experience includes roles in community development and social research projects funded the UNDP, Mercy Corps, Colorado State University.
ADMINISTRATIVE & FINANCE ASSISTANT
Munkhnaran is an administrative and finance assistant at the SFA Mongolia office. She is responsible for communications with partner organisations, updating staff on operational developments, scheduling meetings and appointments, organising documents, handling travel arrangements and assisting in the preparation of financial statements. She graduated from Mandakh Burtgel Institute with a Bachelor’s degree in accounting.
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