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Our Standard

In drafting The Good Cashmere Standard, the Aid by Trade Foundation has defined a new benchmark for the production of sustainable cashmere. The Standard incorporates the Five Freedoms as defined by the Farm Animal Welfare Council. The Good Cashmere Standard follows three main principles: promote animal welfare in cashmere production, support cashmere farmers to secure a sustainable source of income and protect the environment.

Standard & System

The Good Cashmere Standard® by AbTF has been developed with input from animal welfare specialists and industry experts. An advisory board comprised of experts (cashmere producers, non-governmental organisations, retailers and brands) regularly reviews the standard and its verification system based on the results of the audit process and any new scientific findings. In addition, interested parties have the option of becoming involved in the consultation process to review the standard.

Criteria and Principles

The Good Cashmere Standard® by AbTF comprises regulations on animal welfare, the protection of the environment and biodiversity as well as management criteria for small as well as large farms, buying as well as dehairing stations. The largest chapter of The Good Cashmere Standard® covers animal welfare and was designed on the basis of the Five Freedoms as defined by the Farm Animal Welfare Council. More than 100 criteria set clear guidelines for nutrition, keeping and handling, shearing and health management of the animals, among other things.

The Standard defines core criteria that must be met from the start in order to be certified as well as major and basic criteria. Independent auditors regularly check the fulfilment of the criteria and record the progress made.

Audits and Certification

To ensure the reliability of The Good Cashmere Standard® and the correct implementation of its criteria, independent audits verify regularly whether cashmere farmers and producers (buying stations/dehairing stations) comply with the criteria set out in the standard. Should the certification process be successful, cashmere farms and producers who work in accordance with the standard are certified against The Good Cashmere Standard®. They receive a certificate which is valid for 12 months and are allowed to sell their products under The Good Cashmere Standard® seal.

In addition to the external audits by independent third parties, all farmers must outline their performance in a self-assessment questionnaire to assess how they have complied with the standard’s criteria. The answers in the self-reports are the basis for the external verification visits on the farms. In the event of implausible or contradicting answers, the verification company will follow up and clarify the matter. Should a farm, buying station or dehairing station fail to fulfil the core standard criteria (Prohibition of cruelty to animals, child labour and certain pesticides), it will be excluded from participating in The Good Cashmere Standard®. They are removed from the certified supply chain. If other criteria categories are violated, either the non-conformity must be eliminated (major criteria) or a clearly defined improvement plan must be processed (basic criteria). Only when this process has been successfully completed, will the buying stations, dehairing stations and associated farmers receive The Good Cashmere Standard® certificate, which is valid for one year.

Goats

Animal welfare is at the heart of The Good Cashmere Standard, which is why it incorporates the Five Freedoms as defined by the Farm Animal Welfare Council. No animal should be subjected to hunger, thirst, discomfort, pain, injury or disease. Animals must also have the freedom to express normal behaviour and live a life free from fear and distress. The Good Cashmere Standard contains clear and comprehensive criteria regarding:

  • feed, water and nutrition
  • indoor/outdoor living environment
  • health, herd, breeding and kid management
  • physical alterations
  • combing and shearing
  • handling and transport
  • euthanasia and slaughter

The Good Cashmere Standard can go a long way to making a significant improvement to the welfare of cashmere goats. For more detailed information regarding the Standard, please click this link.

Farmers

The criteria contained in The Good Cashmere Standard extend beyond the comprehensive criteria that relate to goat welfare. The Standard also includes criteria regarding the planning of animal welfare maintenance and the recording of the resulting outcomes.

Farmers must ensure that persons who work with goats are trained and competent enough to do so. Additionally, it requires that goat farming activities protect the land and do not cause pollution.
In addition, farmers must co-exist with wildlife and not negatively impact biodiversity on and around the areas they manage. Above that, the Standard defines social criteria for both small and large farms. These criteria govern issues such as the rights of children and workers, gender equality, correct payment as well as health and safety. Farmers must also adhere to stipulations regarding management criteria and audits. By working side by side with cashmere farmers we aim to achieve wide-ranging, significant and continuous improvement.

Environment

The protection of the environment in which cashmere goats, farmers and farming communities live is one of the central aims of The Good Cashmere Standard. One of its key principles in this regard is that goat farming should have no negative impact on the environment, especially on the land and biodiversity.

The Standard also contains criteria regarding the responsible use of fertilisers and pesticides, which define when and how it is appropriate to deploy them. The Standard additionally stipulates that farmers co-exist with wildlife and restrain from negatively impacting biodiversity on and around the areas that they manage.

Downloads

For more detailed information regarding the Standard and beyond, please take a look at the documents down below.

The Good Cashmere Standard
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Chain of Custody Guidelines
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Verification Governance
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    Theory of Change
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    Registration Template
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    Registered Spinners
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    Code of Conduct
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    List of Prohibited Pesticides
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    “The Good Cashmere Standard has been created in close cooperation and dialogue with experts along the textile supply chain. It serves as a benchmark for sustainably produced cashmere and aims to minimize the impact on animals and nature.”
    Anna Heaton – independent consultant for the Aid by Trade Foundation and international expert in standards for animal welfare

    Region

    Cashmere goats are farmed in a number of countries and regions throughout the world. The initial focus of The Good Cashmere Standard is on the cashmere farms of Inner Mongolia, an autonomous region of northern China. Inner Mongolia has a population of around 25 million inhabitants and a total area of 1.18 million square kilometres.

    The region is China’s leading producer of cashmere, accounting for around 6,600 tonnes of global cashmere in 2018, representing 26% of the world’s cashmere production. Sheep and goat farming in Inner Mongolia have increased substantially in recent decades and this has led to widespread degradation of the grasslands that make up 67 % of Inner Mongolia’s land area. This degradation has not only affected cashmere farms, but has also had a significant ecological and environmental impact, such as an increase of desertification and a decrease in biodiversity. The Chinese government has recognised the problem and has responded by introducing goat-grazing bans and extensive reforestation programmes. By encouraging sustainable farming practices and promoting the uptake of sustainably produced cashmere we aim to help farmers in Inner Mongolia secure animal welfare and protect the region in which they live and work.

    Partners

    Get in touch with us
    E-mail address: gcs@abt-foundation.org Telephone: 040 – 25 76 755 – 0