This fall, Mongolia’s Academy of Science and the Sustainable Fibre Alliance (SFA) signed a memorandum of cooperation. The goal of the collaboration is to assess and certify sustainable wool and cashmere production operations in order to reduce the negative impact of cashmere production on the environment, provide a better environment for the well-being of herd animals, and increase the ability of herders to recover their livelihoods.
Some of the objectives the partnership will focus on are:
The second round of public consultation for the revision of the SFA Cashmere Standard is now live!
We are seeking feedback on the proposed new structure and indicators for the SFA Cashmere Standard from all stakeholders and members of the public. Please visit the consultation webpage to review the proposed standard and provide your feedback:
This consultation is open to anyone interested in SFA’s work, but we especially want to hear from underrepresented stakeholders, NGOs and academics that will be impacted by the standard or have an interest in the material issues being addressed.
The public consultation will close on 2nd December 2022.
This is a vital piece of work which aims to improve the standard robustness and measurability. The revision aims to:
The standard review is being conducted as per the SFA’s Standard Setting Procedure, which follows ISEAL’s code of good practice on Standard Setting. Decisions are made by the Standard Setting and Improvement committee (SSIC).
On 9 September, 2022, the Sustainable Fibre Alliance organised the Natural Fibre Connect conference in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The event welcomed 120 in-person guests representing 17 provinces, 58 herding cooperatives, processors, partners, academic institutions, as well as government and non-government organisations. An additional 11 thousand guests attended virtually through the SFA’s live-stream of the conference on Facebook.
Talks were held throughout the day along with a series of working group breakout sessions to discuss the following important themes:
1. The need to focus on the social issues of herders
2. Natural fibres – becoming the driving force of the rural economy
3. Livestock Breeding and Care Realities – Challenges for Farmers and Cooperatives
4. How Chain of Custody and Traceability are Changing the sector?
5. How to support cooperatives with green financing?
Herder cooperatives and communities discussed the importance of maintaining fibre quality alongside sustainability, and the need for affordable veterinary care and subsequent medicines. One of the main takeaways relating to animal care was that if good conditions (health care and water quality) are maintained in line with international standards, waste would be reduced and herder lifestyles would also be improve. Water quality was highlighted as a major issue, with a large percentage of families using wells which can lead to hygiene concerns. Artificial insemination was also a topic of discussion as a viable option to maintain the sustainability of herder lifestyles.
Other key takeaways related to social protection and health insurance. Herders were encouraging to conduct medical examinations for themselves at minimum twice a year; herders were also urged to partake in the extensive ‘herder health insurance’ to protect their finances and maintain social protection, especially due to the risky nature of their jobs. Linked to this, it was determined that labour safety standards on par with international guidelines need to be introduced, implemented and monitored in herding groups.
Furthermore, protecting herders through education and training was emphasised as paramount, so that they can better understand and utilise tools like satellite imagery, GPS and identification services. These technologies can be applied in order to facilitate surveillance activities and monitor where their livestock are grazing.
To close out the conference, more information was shared regarding the new collaboration between the SFA and Khan Bank, one of the major commercial banks in Mongolia, which is providing preferential loans to certified herding families and cooperatives.
As the Mongolian government expands and creates more positions with the priority of protecting the cashmere industry, social protection for herding communities should become a bigger consideration. Additionally, creating better incentives for sustainable change within the industry would aid both Mongolian herding communities and the national economy.
The final Public Consultation will be launching here soon. Watch this space for further updates.
Why is the standard being reviewed?
We invite you to provide your feedback on the content and structure of the SFA Cashmere Standard, as the standard will be a multi-stakeholder developed standard, ensuring that we have input from stakeholder regardless of location, ethnicity, perspective or sector. We are particularly interested to hear from underrepresented stakeholders that will be impacted by the standard.
We are actively looking for experts and practitioners in the following subject areas:
You can provide feedback or comments relating to the content or structure of the SFA Cashmere Cashmere Standard by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Understanding the Growers & Herders perspectives is key to building better textile fibre supply chain partnerships to accelerate innovation and sustainability
On 7-9 September 2022 the Natural Fibre Connect online conference for the alpaca, cashmere, mohair, and wool industries completed successfully.
Over 1000 tickets were sold for the live event and on-demand content platform to participants from 43 different countries. For 6 hours on each of the three conference days, over 80 speakers shared their knowledge across 9 key themes such as animal welfare, social welfare, regenerative agriculture, traceability, green finance and the metaverse. Majority of the presentations were available in English, Spanish, Chinese and Mongolian.
Highlights of the event, were speeches from His Majesty King Letsie III from Lesotho, Artist Michelangelo Pistoletto as well as La Rhea Pepper, CEO of Textile Exchange.
Recordings of all live presentations and discussions are available on the platform along with additional on-demand content until the end of the year.
In addition to the live conference, ticket holders also had access to a virtual exhibition hall where close to 40 different sponsors representing the Alpaca, Cashmere, Mohair and Wool industry exhibited their organizations and projects. Visitors to the virtual booths were able to connect and interact with the respective booth representatives.
The Natural Fibre Connect conference has highlighted the challenges of the textile industry of natural fibers of animal origin, considering current global trends. Industry experts, opinion leaders, breeders, brokers and brand representatives have shared their experience, concerns, limitations and challenges the industry faces in the light of new consumer demands.
One of the most important conclusions was that sustainability has multiple dimensions: environmental, economic, social and cultural; only when all four dimensions are being addressed progress in areas such as climate change, desertification and animal welfare can be achieved. This became apparent in the discussions around traceability and green finance where efforts need to go beyond Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) or animal welfare standards and instead must consider economic and social dimensions as well.
The argument can however also be reversed. Improving livestock and regenerative practices and certifying them requires financial resources and the commitment and partnership of the entire value chain. Speakers of the green finance session have shown that funds exist and that the natural fibre industries must work together to tap into this massive opportunity.
Speakers of the Web 3.0 session also gave a glimpse into how the metaverse and blockchain technology will change supply chains, on-farm data management as well as consumer interaction with textile products and the people working in textiles. The transformational power of the new technologies is the future of the industry and will connect us in ways we cannot imagine today
The event was closed with growers and herders connecting live from Australia, Mongolia, China, South Africa and Argentina to share their perspective, challenges, questions and ideas with the supply chain.
Participants by industry sector
Natural Fibre Connect Online Conference 2022
Natural Fibre Connect is an online conference taking place on 7-9 September 2022 for the alpaca, cashmere, mohair, and wool industries.
As the effects of climate change and market fluctuations continue to grow, it is more important than ever before to understand the impact on growers and herders at the beginning of our supply chains — their prosperity is vital for safeguarding the future of the sector and making real progress towards our sustainability goals. The virtual event will cover trends, challenges, and innovations within the four industries and how they are impacting growers and herders around the world. In turn, we will look at how the growers and herders themselves are shaping the future of the sector.
The event will welcome over 1000+ guests from around the world, including growers, processors, brokers, manufacturers, brands, NGOs, and government stakeholders invested in the natural fibres sector. As the name of the conference suggests, the focus will be to connect all actors of the supply chain, exchange knowledge and insights and work together toward reaching the Sustainable Development Goals.
The 3 live days are filled with expert speakers, recorded talks, and roundtable discussions aimed at tackling the common challenges of the alpaca, cashmere, mohair, and wool industries.
Attendees will benefit from plenty of networking opportunities including access to the virtual exhibition hall where they can connect with fibre supply chain companies, NGOs, and government organisations invested in making the natural fibre industries more sustainable.
Topics discussed during the three-day conference will be:
The event platform is available in English, Spanish, and Chinese. There will be 2 sessions per day discussing the same topics with different speakers: First session (7:00-10:00 UTC) Second session (14:00-17:00 UTC).
An overview of the schedule can be viewed here: https://woolconnect.gschneider.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Schedule-Natural-Fibre-Connect-2022-1.pdf
More information and tickets about the event can be found here: https://bit.ly/NaturalFibreConnect
This past week, the SFA was honoured to meet with the Mongolian delegation for COP26 in Scotland for a tour of Alex Begg’s factory. Alex Begg, a longstanding member of the SFA, is a leading manufacturer of luxury goods and accessories and is committed to sourcing sustainably produced cashmere from Mongolian producers. The delegation’s visit to the factory, and the discussions around climate and land restoration which followed, shows the commitment that the new administration has towards sustainable trade and aligning Mongolia’s international policies on trade and climate change with the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN’s SDGs. The SFA is looking forward to developing public and private sector partnerships with the support of the new cabinet; these multi-stakeholder partnerships will help to support the Mongolian people towards creating an economy in sustainable cashmere, as well as creating better systems by which to support this new economy.
Mongolian media also attended the tour of Alex Begg’s factory to document the ministers’ visit. Their reporting for the Mongolian public helped to highlight the role that the cashmere sector can have in mitigating the climate crisis and share new information and ideas from the government’s visit. Systemic change will involve participation along every stage of production and will require the support of a committed government and strong partnerships.
The SFA’s holistic approach to sustainable cashmere is a good example of what is required to make lasting and widespread change in this industry. It requires the cooperation of the whole supply chain and the support of the global market to address issues of land management, animal welfare, clean fibre processing and herder livelihoods. It is through economic incentives that we will see change on the ground as a market-led approach acknowledges the important connection between a thriving economy and environmental impact.
As the SFA continues to grow and expand, we look forward to future opportunities to connect with the Mongolian cabinet and further develop the relationship and ideas introduced at COP26 that promise a better future for cashmere.
The Sustainable Fibre Alliance organized a three-day virtual conference this Autumn on the Sustainability of the Cashmere Sector. On the second day of the conference, four Mongolian speakers spoke on the theme of “Culture” how we can we learn from other disciplines that look at the realities of nomadic life from different angles. The Culture Panel speakers helped enlighten us by sharing their greater knowledge and understanding on how cultural photography, cultural artwork and ethnographic research are able to expose humanity’s connection to the natural world and what we can learn from pastoralists’ mentality and wisdom – their way of living that is inherited from ancient ancestors yet still so vibrant today.
P. Battulga, founder of the “EGEL” project for the study of Mongolian ethnic heritage and photography, gave his presentation titled “Transformation of nomadic life into modern design.” The report was divided into five subsections: Mobility, Colors, Numbers, Equestrian Culture and Miscellaneous. The speaker said that he was trying to give new ideas, new motivation and new ideas to professional designers and anyone who wants to develop the cashmere market in a sustainable way.
The artist T. Nurmaajav, who creates her artwork using the genre of Mongolian painting, presented fiive of her works: “Sunrise”, “Summer”, “Good Noise”, “Peace” and “Mongolian Wind”. She also talked about how she reflects the nomadic lifestyle, the general harmony of Mongolian paintings and innovative expressions in her works.
L. Jargalsaikhan, a nature photographer of birds, butterflies and insects, spoke about whether herders’ livelihoods are at a reasonable level with nature and wildlife, and how climate change and agriculture affect the balance of nature. He compared how natural degradation relates to the seasonality and attitudes of people, to the photographs of birds and animals that he took.
M.Enkhbaatar, a doctoral candidate at the Institute of History and Ethnology of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences, made a presentation on the topic of “Knowledge of Mongolian Shepherds about Goats”. The presentation was divided into four sections: “What is the role of goats in the herd?”, “Is it possible not to have sheep and goats in the city?”, “Responsible grazing of goats” and “Characteristics of goats”. It was also interesting to understand the difference between the Mongolian notion that “more goats destroy pastures” and simply explaining the pros and cons of goats herd.
Тогтвортой ноос ноолуурын олон улсын эвслээс ноолуурын үйлдвэрлэлд тогтвортой ханган нийлүүлэлтийн сүлжээг бий болгох зорилготой сонирхогч талуудыг оролцуулсан “Ноолуурын салбарын тогтвортой байдал” сэдэвт гурван өдрийн виртуал бага хурлыг зохион байгууллаа. Уг хурлын хоёр дахь өдөр “Өв соёл” сэдвийн хүрээнд Монголын талаас дөрвөн хүн илтгэгчээр оролцож, өөрсдийн сонгож авсан сэдвийн хүрээнд илтгэл тавьлаа. Энэ хэсгийн чиглүүлэгчээр Монгол дахь Тогтвортой ноос ноолуур эвслийн захирал, доктор Б.Батхишиг ажиллаа.
Монгол угсаатны өв соёлын судалгаа, гэрэл зургийн “ЭГЭЛ” төслийг санаачлагч П.Баттулга “Нүүдэлчин ахуйг орчин үеийн дизайнд урвуулах нь” сэдвээр илтгэл тавьсан. Энэхүү илтгэл нь Нүүдэл, Өнгө, Тооно, Адуун соёл, Элдэв гэсэн таван дэд агуулгад хуваагдсан байлаа. Илтгэгч мэргэжлийн дизайнерууд болон, ноолуурын зах зээлийг тогтвортой хөгжүүлэхийг эрмэлзэгч хэн бүхэнд шинэ санаа, шинэ сэдэл, шинэ ойлголт өгөхийг хичээсэн гэдгээ илэрхийлж байсан ба гэрэл зураг гэдэг хэдэн зуу, хэдэн мянган үгийн үнэ цэнтэй баримт тул төслийн хүрээнд авсан 80 гаруй фото зураг илүү олон зүйл өгүүлсэн хэмээн итгэж буйгаа хэлж байв.
Монгол зургийн аргаар уран бүтээлээ туурвидаг, зураач Т.Нурмаажав өөрийн “Сэтгэлд мандсан нар”, “Зун”, “Сайн чимээ”, “Амар амгалан”, “Монгол салхи” зэрэг таван бүтээлээ хурал оролцогчдод танилцуулсан. Ингэхдээ мөн л нүүдэлчин ахуй, монгол зургийн ерөнхий өнгө зохицол, зохиомжийн шинэлэг илэрхийллийг бүтээлдээ хэрхэн тусгаснаа илтгэлдээ өгүүлж байлаа.
Байгалийн тэр дундаа шувууны, эрвээхэйн, шавьжны зураг авдаг гэрэл зурагчин Л.Жаргалсайхан илтгэлдээ малчдын ахуй амьдрал байгальтай, ан амьтадтай зохистой түвшинд байж чадаж байгаа эсэх, уур амьсгалын өөрчлөлт, газар тариалан зэрэг нь байгалийн тэнцвэрт хэрхэн нөлөөлж буй талаар ярилаа. Байгалийн доройтол цаг улирлын байдалтай яаж холбогдож байгаа, хүмүүсийн хандлага зэргийг өөрийн авсан шувууд, амьтадын зурагтай жишин ярьсан юм.
Монгол Улсын Шинжлэх ухааны Академийн Түүх, угсаатны зүйн хүрээлэнгийн эрдэм шинжилгээний ажилтан, докторант М.Энхбаатар “Монгол малчдын ямаатай холбоогдох мэдлэг” сэдвээр тавьсан илтгэл мөн сонирхол татна. Уг илтгэл “Сүргийн дотор ямаа ямар үүрэгтэй вэ”, “Хоттой хонь ямаагүй байж болох уу”, “Ямаан сүргийн хариулга маллагаа”, “Ямааны онцлог шинжүүд” гэсэн дөрвөн хэсгээс бүрдэж байлаа. Монголчуудын дунд нийтлэг байдаг “Ямаа олширвол бэлчээр талхлагддаг” гэсэн ойлголтын ялгаа заагийг ойлгуулсан, ямаа хэмээх малын сайн хийгээд саар талыг энгийн ойлгомжтой талбарласан мөн л сонирхолтой байлаа.
SFA first published codes of practice for rangeland stewardship, animal husbandry, and clean fibre processing. The focus for each of these is on continuous improvement with certification at three award levels to reflect compliance.
In 2022 the SFA is proposing consolidating into the Sustainable Cashmere Standard, a performance-based, outcome-oriented worldwide standard. The Principles and Criteria focus on the production of cashmere in a way that is measurably better for animals, the environment, and herding communities.
The SCS Principles are the essential rules or elements of environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable cashmere production, and the Criteria provide the means of judging whether or not a Principle has been fulfilled.
To find our more, visit our website for more details.
ISEAL is pleased to welcome the Sustainable Fibre Alliance (SFA) into the ISEAL community as an ISEAL Community Member. We are excited to learn from their experience at implementing a standard at a landscape level, and engaging with them to support their improvement over time.
ISEAL members are sustainability systems and accreditation bodies dedicated to delivering benefits for people and planet. They are committed to continually improving their systems and impacts through learning and innovation; collaborating with stakeholders and peers; and are transparent and truthful about how their systems work and how they measure their impacts.
In becoming an ISEAL Community Member, SFA joins a growing number of well-respected sustainability systems that are driving positive social and environmental change across multiple sectors. SFA will be working alongside these mission-driven sustainability organisations to continuously improve the effectiveness of their systems and demonstrate impact.
Further to the recommendation from the ISEAL Membership Committee, and ISEAL Board approval, ISEAL’s Executive Director Karin Kreider said, “I am very pleased to welcome the Sustainable Fibre Alliance to the ISEAL community! And, excited that we now have a member whose primary focus is the cashmere sector and working in Mongolia. They provide an important contribution to the challenges of textile production and their field-based work contributes to landscape-based approaches — a welcome addition to the ISEAL learning community.”
Una Jones, CEO & Founder of SFA commented that, “Being an ISEAL community member is a reflection of how committed the SFA is to improving our standard system and its requirements and processes. We are looking forward to learning from other standard holding bodies and sharing best practices and innovative approaches for tackling sustainability challenges”.
ISEAL encourages any organisation developing or operating a sustainability system with a multi-stakeholder approach and a commitment to credible practices to consider joining ISEAL.
Find out more on the ISEAL membership page.
ISEAL is the global membership organisation for ambitious, collaborative and transparent sustainability systems. We’re driving collective efforts to tackle the most pressing sustainability issues and create a world where markets are a force for good.
Joining ISEAL’s learning community helps sustainability systems and their partners to deliver real, lasting, positive change. Our Community Members are sustainability standards and similar systems that collaborate to scale and demonstrate positive impact. Our Code Compliant members go further, adhering to our Codes of Good Practice – a globally recognised framework for best practice.
Find out more about our members: www.isealalliance.org
Explore evidence on the impacts of sustainability systems: www.evidensia.eco
The live portion of our first virtual conference has concluded and we want to thank the over 400 attendees and 50+ speakers who helped make this event a huge success! While the live sessions are complete, you will still be able to view the recorded sessions, explore the exhibition hall, and continue to network with the cashmere industry through 14 October.
It is not too late to purchase a ticket to gain access to the platform and view the recorded versions of the live sessions. Please visit our event website here to learn how to register: https://conference.sustainablefibre.org/virtualconference/.
On 07-09 September 2021, The Schneider Group is organising its second edition of the Wool Connect Online Grower Conference. The event will be scheduled across three days, with around 2-hour sessions each day. A wide range of speakers is scheduled to speak at the event.
Each of the three days will cover a different topic. On day one, the focus will lie on the international context for the wool industry. Here participants will hear from brands and retailers as well as NGOs and policy influencers about the future market demand and trends relevant for wool. Speakers of day one include La Rhea Pepper, CEO of Textile Exchange and Elena Schneider from The Schneider Group.
On day two, the focus will be on animal welfare. During Wool Connect 2020 animal welfare was already openly discussed. One year later, some challenges have already been tackled due to better communications along the supply chain. In this session, speakers will report about the progress made. Speakers of day two include Bridget Peachey from AWI, Südwolle Group representative Davide Marcante, Germán García Ibañez from Inditex, Heinz Zeller from Hugo Boss, Marta Maniero from Marzotto Wool Manufacturing, Paul Swan from SustainaWool, Ed Storey from WoolProducers Australia and Rebecca Picallo Gil from Four Paws, among others.
On the third and last day of Wool Connect, the session will be organised around new income streams such as carbon accounting. Mick Taylor from Landcare Australia, Stephen Wiedemann vom Integrity Ag & Environment and others will lead through this session.
Agricultural media specialist, David Cussons will be leading through the sessions together with wool communicator, Elisabeth van Delden. The goal will be to encourage interactive and engaging sessions between speakers and the audience.
Participants to the event can join all three days live via Zoom. However, all recordings will also be made available within the Wool Connect community for everyone who purchased a ticked. Registration is already available via this link. Authentico Growers receive a 50% discount, and just need to contact the organisers by email at email@example.com to receive a discount code.
Buy tickets here: https://woolconnect.gschneider.com/register/wool-connect-2021/
Wool Connect is a strategic pillar of the Schneider Group’s Sustainability Strategy TOGETHER 2030. Through the online conference format and community, the Schneider Group aims to contribute to a better dialogue and consensus building along the wool supply chain.