The Good Cashmere Standard Establishes Model Farms

The Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF) launched The Good Cashmere Standard (GCS) in 2020 to promote sustainable cashmere production. To make it easier for cashmere goat farmers to join up with this successful label, GCS is now working with international retailers and suppliers to establish model farms in northern China.

Hamburg, 14 July 2023. The Good Cashmere Standard® (GCS) was created by the Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF) in 2020 with the aim of protecting animal welfare, biodiversity, the environment, and social standards. The standard soon gained a foothold in the market.

There are already 4.2 million cashmere goats producing 1,900 tonnes of certified raw cashmere per year. These impressive figures show how quickly the standard proved its quality in the marketplace. GCS is currently working with 15 cashmere producers and 9,400 farmers in Inner Mongolia, an autonomous region within China.

If they choose to produce their cashmere in accordance with GCS requirements, farmers face the challenge of transforming their operations and working processes to meet the standard’s demanding criteria. The chapter on animal welfare alone encompasses 100 criteria that govern a range of practices, including feeding, health management, and kid rearing. In conjunction with retailers and suppliers, GCS began developing model farms last year to support goat farmers in making this transition. The model farms provide information to farmers about GCS-compliant goat-keeping practices. The farms receive technical and material support in preparation for the training, which focusses on demonstrating the best practices for GCS implementation. GCS and its partners cover the costs for these events, and for the room and board of training participants and trainers.

Five farms are currently in the process of becoming GCS model farms, with financial and organisational support from the Chinese suppliers Artwell, Suzhou Niushi Wool Textile C., Ltd., and Xinao Cashmere, from the US retailer J.Crew, and naturally from GCS itself. GCS representatives visited two of these farms as part of a trip to China in May of this year. “One of the farms was audited for the first time in 2023. Another has already gone through two audits,” reports Vanessa Löwenich, a GCS project manager.

Each of the future model farms will be open to interested goat farmers four times a year. “The goat farmers who have decided to operate a model farm are pioneers in animal welfare and environmental protection in China,” says Vanessa. She continues, “In addition to sharing their expertise with other goat farmers, they will serve as a valuable source of inspiration and promote camaraderie among GCS farmers.”

To learn more about GCS model farms, please feel free to get in touch with the GCS team (gcs@abt-foundation.org).

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