Our Story


Over the course of 8 years, the SFA has grown from a concept into the world’s first global organisation for  cashmere sustainability, with our training and certification programme reaching over 20,000 herders in Mongolia and China. Our two founders grew up in the Mongolian countryside and saw first-hand how climate change and overgrazing was impacting the land. River beds were drying up, grasslands were turning to desert, and the families that once thrived in this environment faced a growing struggle. The Sustainable Fibre Alliance grew from their desire for a lasting, market-based and scalable solution for protecting Mongolia’s rich rangelands and pastoral culture for future generations.

Johnstons of Elgin and Burberry are two of our founding members, helping to establish the SFA as a reputable and impactful organisation within the fashion industry. Scroll through the timeline below to learn more about our story.

  • Reach grows to 15,000 farms in China and almost 100 herder organisations of over 16000 herder households in Mongolia
  • Natural Fibre Connect partnership brings together the cashmere, alpaca, mohair and wool industries  
  • Renewed MOU with ICCAW and CCMI
  • New MOU with the Mongolian Academy of Sciences for monitoring and evaluation
  • Launch of the global SFA Cashmere Standard
  • Minimum content of certified fibre in finished products for claims raised to 100% 
  • Low-interest loans offered to certified herders by Khan Bank in Mongolia
  • The SFA becomes an ISEAL Community Member
  • SFA Membership reaches over 50 companies
  • The SFA helps launch an LCA project to estimate the carbon impact of cashmere production and processing
  • Over 1,500 tonnes of certified fibre traced through the SFA’s Chain of Custody
  • First SFA Certified hangtags show up in stores in Mongolia and Europe
  • The SFA’s Chain of Custody pilot traces 90 tonnes of raw fibre through the cashmere supply chain
  • Khanbogd Cashmere is the first processor to be accredited against the Clean Fibre Processing Code of Practice
  • SFA x ICCAW Cashmere Goat Welfare Code of Practice is launched across China
  • SFA Covid Action Plan delivered to help herders and supply chain actors  through the pandemic
  • Scoping mission to the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region of China to assess expansion into the region
  • Development of the Clean Fibre Processing Code of Practice
  • The SFA takes part in the first blockchain pilot for cashmere traceability
  • First certifications against the Rangeland Stewardship and Animal Husbandry Codes of Practice
  • 48 rangeland managers trained and recruited
  • Results Reporting Framework developed
  • Khan Bank offers preferential loan rates to registered herders
  • Launch of the Johnstons of Elgin Young Herder Training Programme
  • The SFA’s first Sustainability Awards take place
  • Programme reaches 3,843 herding households from 11 provinces across Mongolia
  • Over 300,000 cashmere goats produce 75 tons of certified fibre
  • The Rangeland Stewardship and Animal Husbandry Codes of Practice are adopted by 8 herder organisations, reaching 346 herder households from 7 regions across Mongolia
  • The SFA’s Scientific and Technical Committee (STC) is established, made up of respected scientists and practitioners in the field of conservation and pasture management.
  • The first international SFA conference is held in Ulaanbaatar and attended by 160 delegates from 12 countries.
  • Funding is secured from the British Foreign and Common Wealth Office
  • The SFA develops its Rangeland Stewardship and Animal Husbandry Codes of Practice.
  • Following stakeholder consultation, training materials  are developed to support the codes of practice
  • The SFA Board is joined by Andreas Wilkes and Ruchira Joshi
  • The SFA’s two founders, Una Jones and Batkhishig Baival develop the framework and mission for the SFA
  • The SFA is established with support from Johnstons of Elgin, Burberry and Kering Group
  • Alison Rodwell joins as SFA Board Chair