31 October 2022 The second-round of public consultation is now open!
The Sustainable Fibre Alliance (SFA) is a non-profit international organisation working with the extended cashmere supply chain, from herders to retailers. Our vision is a future where cashmere is produced in a way that minimises environmental impact, safeguards herder livelihoods and meets high welfare standards.
A key element of our strategy for 2030 is the implementation of the SFA Standard system including an evidence-based sustainability standard for cashmere that addresses key sustainability risks along the cashmere supply chain. A standard which is global and consistently applicable to the varying cashmere-producing regions and systems. Furthermore, the revised standard aims to enable accurate, clear and credible impacts measurement, and transparent claims.
Why is the standard being reviewed?
SFA published codes of practice for animal husbandry, rangeland stewardship, and clean fibre processing, which have been rolled out and applied in stages in Mongolia and China since 2018. The pilot projects and application of these codes of practice have enabled a deeper understanding of the critical issues in cashmere production and supply, and the management systems needed to record, verify and track them.
In 2022, the SFA is proposing consolidating these three codes of practice into one global standard: the SFA Cashmere Standard – a performance-based, impact-oriented global standard to avoid a proliferation of similar, but slightly differing codes of practice in different regions, and to integrate Decent Work, Management and Fibre Quality* principles to better address a wider scope of relevant issues to cashmere production and herder livelihoods and align with SFA’s 2030 strategy.
What will the new standard look like?
It is proposed that the new standard will comprise of five principles – Goat Welfare; Natural Resources; Fibre Quality; Decent Work and Management.
The principles and criteria focus on the production of cashmere in a way that creates positive, measurable impacts for animals, the environment, and herding communities.
The principles are the essential material issues or elements of environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable cashmere production.
The Desirable outcomes are the intended short- and medium-term positive outcome or effect that application of the standard will deliver.
The criteria and achievement indicators provide the means of applying the standard and judging whether or not a principle has been fulfilled (through verification, audit and impacts measurement activities).
How to contribute
We invite anyone to provide feedback on the content and structure of the proposed SFA Cashmere Standard, to enable a balance of stakeholder perspectives from across the supply-chain, from varying locations, sectors, and perspectives.
Online Feedback form: The online feedback form will be available from 09:00 (UTC) on 31st October 2022 until 17:00 (UTC) on 2nd December 2022.
Please complete this Online feedback form (accessible in English and Chinese. For Mongolian version, see below) – either with a general comment, or you can decide which parts of the standard you would like to provide feedback on by principle. Responses can be given anonymously and either as an individual or representing your organisation.
Alternatively, you can provide more complete feedback or specific comments with any supporting documents attached by emailing: email@example.com.
We are particularly interested 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.
All comments received through the course of the consultation will be anonymised and made publicly available. We will also publish a summary of the feedback received and how this was addressed.
The public consultation will be open from 09:00 (UTC) on 31st October 2022 until 17:00 (UTC) on 2nd December 2022.
The purpose of the consultation
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:
- Humane slaughter and injurious procedures
- Decent work/Human resources
- Environment and natural resources (water, waste, soil health).
How is the review conducted?
The standard review is being conducted as per the SFA’s Standard Setting Procedure which follows ISEAL’s codes of good practices:
- Setting Social and Environmental Standards
- Assuring Compliance with Social and Environmental Standards
- Assessing the Impacts of Social and Environmental Standards Systems
A draft model of the standard, including principles, themes and criteria was produced by an independent consultant, and a first public consultation was launched to gather initial feedback in October 2021.
This was then followed up with further drafts and consultations which were conducted in early 2022 including input from the RSPCA, International Cooperation Committee of Animal Welfare (ICCAW), Johnstons of Elgin and John Lewis.
Herder families and producer organisations in Mongolia attended in-person workshops on the new standard during the Natural Fibre Connect Conference in September 2022. This is being replicated in China facilitated by our Chinese in-country partner, ICCAW.
Comments will be considered, and further outreach conducted if required. The SSIC will make final decisions on the content of the standard, as per our Standard Setting Procedures.
All comments received through the course of the consultation will be anonymised and made publicly available. We will also publish a summary of the feedback received and how this was addressed when we release the second consultation draft.