FAQ

  • WHAT IS THE GOOD CASHMERE STANDARD®?
    The Good Cashmere Standard® is an independent standard for sustainable cashmere. It was developed by the Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF) and aims to improve the welfare of cashmere goats, the working conditions of farmers and to protect the environment. Only the cashmere farms and producers, that comply with the sustainability criteria outlined in our standard will be certified. The standard specifies a clear and comprehensive set of criteria for a sustainable cashmere production. Regular checks are performed by independent auditors in order to monitor compliance with the standard.
  • WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE GOOD CASHMERE STANDARD®?
    The Good Cashmere Standard® is an initiative of the Aid by Trade Foundation. It was founded in 2019 with the aim of creating, promoting, and implementing a benchmark standard for sustainable cashmere.
  • WHAT IS THE AID BY TRADE FOUNDATION?
    The Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF) is the umbrella organisation of The Good Cashmere Standard®. It was founded in 2005 by Prof. Dr. Michael Otto, an entrepreneur from Hamburg, Germany, whose pioneering philanthropic work is characterised by his desire to transform the fashion industry by means of future-orientated sustainability solutions. The AbTF leverages trade as a means of empowerment – helping people by creating sustainable value chains that benefit everyone from the farmer to the customer. The foundation cooperates with a wide range of partners from the textile sector to governmental and non-governmental bodies to reach its aims.
  • WHERE DOES THE GOOD CASHMERE STANDARD® WORK?
    The initial focus of The Good Cashmere Standard® is on the cashmere farms of Inner Mongolia, an autonomous region of northern China. The region is China’s leading producer of cashmere.
  • HOW DOES THE GOOD CASHMERE STANDARD® ENSURE THAT ITS SUSTAINABILITY CRITERIA ARE MET?
    The Good Cashmere Standard® specifies a clear and comprehensive set of criteria for a sustainable cashmere production. In order to ensure that the criteria stipulated in our standard are met, we employ the services of an independent auditor that regularly ensures the correct implementation of and compliance with our standard. Only the cashmere farms and producers, that comply with the sustainability criteria outlined in the standard will be certified. The audits are currently conducted by ELEVATE, an international service provider that is focused on optimising sustainability and global supply chain services.
  • HOW IS THE GOOD CASHMERE STANDARD® FUNDED?
    The Aid by Trade Foundation is a non-profit organisation. Instead of donations, the foundation activates market forces to realise its goals. Brands and retailers buy the certified cashmere wool at world market prices for a licence fee and have the raw material processed in all key textile production markets. Licence income is reinvested by the Aid by Trade Foundation to implement its standard. Only licence partners are permitted to label their products with The Good Cashmere Standard seal. The income from licensing fees is used in accordance with the foundation’s goals. It is re-invested to further develop the standard and benefit farmers, cashmere goats and environmental protection in Inner Mongolia.
  • WHAT KIND OF PRODUCTS ARE LABELLED WITH THE GOOD CASHMERE STANDARD®?
    Only products containing sustainably produced cashmere from producers that have been certified are labelled with The Good Cashmere Standard®. Cashmere is often used to make warm clothing such as pullovers, coats or scarves.
  • WHERE CAN I BUY THE PRODUCTS LABELLED WITH THE GOOD CASHMERE STANDARD®?
    Products with The Good Cashmere Standard® label can be purchased from an ever-increasing number of retailers and brands. Click here for an overview of our partners.
  • HOW CAN I RECOGNISE CASHMERE PRODUCTS THAT ARE PRODUCED SUSTAINABLY?
    You can recognise products that contain cashmere certified according to The Good Cashmere Standard® by means of The Good Cashmere Standard® on-product label. Only contract partners of The Good Cashmere Standard® are granted the right to use and label cashmere certified according to The Good Cashmere Standard®. In buying a product labelled with The Good Cashmere Standard®, you make an important contribution to transforming the fashion industry, caring for animal welfare, supporting cashmere farmers and protecting nature.
  • CAN BUYING A PRODUCT LABELLED WITH THE GOOD CASHMERE STANDARD® SUPPORT ANIMAL WELFARE, PROTECT NATURE AND SUPPORT FARMERS AND THEIR COMMUNITIES?
    In buying a product labelled with The Good Cashmere Standard®, you make an important contribution to transforming the fashion industry, caring for animal welfare, supporting cashmere farmers and protecting nature. Every retailer and brand that use the certified cashmere and mark their products with the label are obliged to pay a licence fee. Following the Social Business approach of our foundation, the proceeds from licence fees are reinvested to benefit farmers, goats, and environmental protection. Your buying decision is a vote that defines how we treat animals, nature and the people behind our clothes. With you purchase you can underline the need for a more sustainable textile industry. ⠀
  • HOW CAN I BECOME A PARTNER OF THE GOOD CASHMERE STANDARD®?
    If you are interested in becoming a partner of The Good Cashmere Standard®, please do not hesitate to contact us. With our help you can address the challenges in cashmere production such as animal welfare and environmental concerns and smoothly integrate sustainably produced cashmere in your supply chain. Become part of our network of partners to transform the textile industry.
  • CAN I LABEL MY PRODUCTS WITH THE GOOD CASHMERE STANDARD®?
    Only contract partners with a valid licence agreement that source cashmere certified according to The Good Cashmere Standard® can use The Good Cashmere Standard® seal. These producers from which they source the cashmere must also be registered with The Good Cashmere Standard®. If you are interested in becoming a partner and using our label, we look forward to getting in touch with you.
  • WHAT ARE THE DANGERS OF CONVENTIONAL CASHMERE PRODUCTION?
    Cashmere production comes with a variety of challenges related to animal welfare, biodiversity, the environment, and the social circumstances of the people who produce the valuable raw cashmere. The goal of the standard is to promote the wellbeing of cashmere goats, improve the lives of the farmers, and protect the environment in which they live. By developing The Good Cashmere Standard®, AbTF defined a new standard for the production of sustainable cashmere. Transparency regarding the origin and production of cashmere products is also a priority for The Good Cashmere Standard® by AbTF. The Good Cashmere Standard® by AbTF is a comprehensive standard for the production of sustainable cashmere and creates transparency in the production process. All partners of the standard are therefore bound by a Chain of Custody Guidelines that establishes clear rules for the processing of cashmere from the start of the production process to the end product.
  • HOW DO YOU PROVE THAT PRODUCTS WITH THE LABEL OF THE GOOD CASHMERE STANDARD ARE MADE FROM SUSTAINABLE CASHMERE WOOL THAT WAS VERIFIED BY YOUR STANDARD®?
    In accordance with the requirements of The Good Cashmere Standard®, producers must separate certified from non-certified cashmere wool during purchasing, warehousing, and every other processing stage. Compliance with these requirements is monitored through audits of the purchasing stations. Only products that really contain certified cashmere wool may bear the label of The Good Cashmere Standard®. In addition, a product with The Good Cashmere Standard® label cannot contain any non-certified cashmere wool. To ensure that these requirements for processing cashmere wool are properly implemented, the necessary documentation is maintained through a tracking system that encompasses all registered members of the value chain and records their purchase orders.
  • HOW DO YOU VERIFY WHETHER THE CRITERIA OF YOUR STANDARD ARE ACTUALLY BEING APPLIED?
    To ensure the reliability of The Good Cashmere Standard® and the proper implementation of its criteria, independent auditors regularly verify criteria implementation and compliance on the cashmere farms and by the producers. Following a successful verification, producers receive a certificate valid for twelve months and may sell their products with the quality seal of The Good Cashmere Standard. The external verifications assess a random sample of around ten percent, which is a common sample size in the agrarian commodities sector and allows good inferences to be drawn regarding production conditions in the parent population. In addition, 100 percent of the farmers are required to submit a written self-assessment, allowing a comprehensive evaluation of the implementation of the standard to be made. Non-compliance with core criteria directly leads to expulsion from the system. Infringements of major and basic criteria result in the farms or producers in question being issued a warning and being required to prove they are taking measures for improvement.
  • DO THE GOATS RECEIVE SUFFICIENT MEDICAL CARE?
    Good health for the goats is a basic principle of The Good Cashmere Standard®. Preventing health problems by treating the animals properly is the primary goal. This can be achieved through a written health plan created with input from a veterinary professional or another animal-welfare expert. The health plan covers the prevention and treatment of health risks. In addition, at least once per year, visits must be made by veterinary or goat experts to verify the health plan and the protocols for the wellbeing of the goats and for health and disease management on the farm. If goats nonetheless fall ill or are injured, they must receive immediate medical attention. Farmers are prohibited from administering therapeutic medications themselves; this task must be entrusted to veterinary professionals. The farmers must document treatments, medications, and vaccinations.
  • DO THE ANIMALS SUFFER WHEN THEIR HAIR IS REMOVED?
    It is a key and clearly defined goal for the Aid by Trade Foundation to ensure the wellbeing of the animals while wool is harvested. We therefore have concrete requirements for the wool-harvesting process. The standard requires the goats to be shorn or combed at a time when they are naturally losing their hair. The goats’ undercoat grows in the autumn as insulation against cold winter temperatures. In the following spring, the goats shed this undercoat. The hair from the undercoat is combed out and processed into wool. It is important that only properly trained people shear and comb the animals. If third parties are tasked with this job, a person from the team is responsible for the welfare of the goats. A tranquil atmosphere must be ensured. If shears are used, they must be well maintained and appropriate for goat hair. Combs cannot have sharp edges. The wellbeing of the goats must always be respected. If an injury is sustained in the course of shearing or combing despite these precautions, the injured animal must receive immediate and appropriate medical treatment and be placed under observation for several days. The goats must also be protected from the cold or the sun after combing or shearing, e.g. by only shearing/combing them during prolonged warm spells, by leaving the goats with enough fur, or by providing them with a protected shelter.
  • WHY DO ANIMALS STILL NEED TO SUFFER FOR THE FASHION INDUSTRY WHEN ALTERNATIVE SOLUTIONS EXIST? WHY DON’T YOU INVEST IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF SYNTHETIC AND PLANT-BASED MATERIALS THAT ALSO KEEP US WARM AND SNUG?
    Demand for cashmere has grown significantly in recent years. However, the origins, quality, and production conditions of the cashmere have largely remained a mystery. The Aid by Trade Foundation advocates for the welfare of the goats on the cashmere farms. We are happy to see so many promising projects being conducted to promote alternative raw materials in the textile industry. However, a major breakthrough in alternative materials for the mass market has not yet occurred. This means that demand for animal fibres will remain high in the medium and long terms, making it especially important to establish a standard that lays down requirements for animal welfare as well as social and environmental criteria and ensures the independent verification of compliance. The Good Cashmere Standard® is based on a comprehensive set of criteria developed in close collaboration with animal-rights specialists and independent cashmere-production experts. Compliance with the standard is regularly verified by independent auditors. The standard is also setting a public example for the textile and fashion industry by offering consumers and companies in sectors that continue to use animal fibres the first responsible alternative to conventional cashmere. As a result, retailers and fashion brands can positively influence the textile sector and bring about a fundamental shift towards sustainability certifications.

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E-mail address: gcs@abt-foundation.org Telephone: 040 – 25 76 755 – 0