RECOGNISING A CREDIBLE STANDARD
Sustainability standards offer a voluntary, market-based tool for addressing the most pressing social and environmental challenges of our time. But how do you know if a sustainability standard is credible? ISEAL’s Credibility Principles define the core values of credible and effective sustainability systems:
Developed through multi-stakeholder input and deliberation to ensure no bias towards a particular company, sector or group
Regularly reviewed and updated to ensure it remains relevant and effective
Transparent and provides detailed information about how the standard is developed and how it is applied
The SFA is a Community Member of the International Social and Environmental Accreditation and Labelling Alliance (ISEAL).
ISEAL is the global membership organisation for ambitious, collaborative and transparent sustainability systems, and includes as members some of the most recognised and credible standards systems in the world. They define best practice for sustainability standards and similar systems through their Codes of Good Practice. Learn how the ISEAL community defines credible sustainability systems.
“A sustainability standard provides rules, guidelines or characteristics for products or related processes and production methods. Standards systems are the collective of organisations responsible for the activities involved in the implementation of a standard, including standard-setting, capacity building, assurance, labelling and monitoring and evaluation.“ ISEAL Alliance
THE SFA STANDARD SYSTEM
The SFA developed the world’s first standard system for cashmere in 2017. At the heart of the standard system were two codes of practice which outlined best practice for animal husbandry and rangeland management.
In January 2023, the SFA refreshed its standard system following the launch of its global, integrated SFA Cashmere Standard, which integrates the herder level codes of practice from Mongolia and China. Based on five global principles of responsible cashmere production, the SFA Cashmere Standard now offers a holistic, comprehensive and outcome-based standard that is global in scope.
Our updated standard system builds on the extensive research and learning from implementing the SFA's Codes of Practice over the past five years.
To support our standards, we are now reviewing and refining our assurance process, chain of custody and claims, and developing a robust monitoring, learning and evaluation system that will allow us to monitor and demonstrate our impact. These components of the standard system will be launched throughout 2023/2024.
GUIDANCE FOR SFA MEMBERS
Herder Organisations and farms that are currently registered with the SFA will be able to continue using the previous SFA Codes of Practice until the end of 2023. All assessments based on the Codes of Practice will cease on 31 December 2023. We recommend producers familiarise themselves with the new standard. SFA and its partners will be offering training on the standard implementation and assurance from April 2023.
Within the new SFA Standard System, we will no longer be awarding bronze, silver and gold certificates based on compliance. Instead, the new system will include requirements for continuous improvement built into the standard. If you currently hold a bronze, silver or gold certificate, it will remain valid through to its expiration date, and certificates may continue to be awarded to those compliant to the old Codes of Practice system throughout 2023. Certificates achieved during that period will remain valid for 12 months before expiring.