Decent Work


The sustainability of cashmere production encompasses not only environmental but also social considerations. The concept of ‘decent work’ was developed by the International Labour Organisation, the UN agency on work and employment, to describe work that provides opportunities for women and men to work productively in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity. The SFA have focused this aspect of their standard on fair hiring practices and working conditions, equality in wages, protecting traditional communities, preventing child labour and promoting health and safety. Gender equality and human rights feature prominently through this principle, ensuring that women receive equal pay and play an active role in cooperative decision-making, and that workers are respected and treated fairly.

Good Hiring Practice

The desired outcome of this criteria is to ensure there are good practices regarding fair hiring, which are free of discrimination and intimidation and directly combat risk factors for forced labour.

  • Engagement in, or support of, the use of forced or compulsory labour, as defined in ILO Convention 29, is prohibited.
  • All employees and contracted workers must understand their contract of employment.
  • working additional hours or overtime must be completely voluntary.

No Child Labour

The desired outcome of this criteria is that children are protected from exploitation, not engaged in dangerous work, and are able to participate fully in formal education.

  • Workers under the age of 18 must not be engaged in the worst forms of child labour or hazardous child labour, as defined in ILO Convention 182 and Recommendation 190.
  • Children safely learn how to herd livestock from their family by engaging in age-appropriate activities outside of school hours and lessons.

Fair Work Environments

The desired outcome of this criteria is that workers are treated fairly and respectfully, and environments are harmonious, motivating and productive.

  • Discrimination, as defined in ILO Convention 111, is prohibited.
  • Harassment, verbal abuse, or physical abuse of any kind at any time are prohibited.
  • Corruption, extortion and/or bribery of workers or families are prohibited.

Equal Pay for Equal Work

The desired outcome of this criteria is that workers receive payment in a transparent and consistent manner that is non-discriminatory and provides for appropriate rest and leave for the worker.

  • Workers must receive wages that comply with local legal minimum wages or collectively bargained wages, whichever is higher.
  • Equal pay for equal work must be provided for all workers regardless of gender, work status, religion, political affiliation, nationality, age, or other factors. 

Respect for Local Communities

The desired outcome of this criteria is that herding activities have minimal negative impact on local communities and indigenous peoples.

  • Producers must acknowledge and adhere to legal rights of local communities regarding sites, land, and other resources.
  • Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) must be obtained for any activity that may affect the lands, territories, and resources that indigenous peoples customarily own, occupy or otherwise use. 

Safe Work Environment

The desired outcome of this criteria is that the health of workers is not negatively impacted by their work environment.

  • Potentially hazardous work situations must be clearly identified, and unnecessary risks eliminated.
  • An inventory of hazardous substances must be maintained.
  • Machinery must have clear instructions on safe use, be maintained and stored to limit hazards.
  • Appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) must be provided at no cost to the worker.
  • Safe and accessible potable and washing water facilities must be available.
  • Workplaces must provide and maintain sanitary facilities for eating and storing food, clean and hygienic washing and toilet facilities, fire safety equipment and alarms, clearly marked and unblocked emergency exits, access to adequate power supply, childcare and breastfeeding facilities.
  • Workers have the right and responsibility to stop or refuse to work in hazardous situations