Wool is an important fiber in the textile industry; it has a long history, and an even longer future. Its versatility, performance characteristics, and comfort give it great value in a range of applications, and keep it as a perennial favorite among consumers.

Wool owes its unique properties to the sheep that grow it, and we owe it to the sheep to ensure that their welfare is being protected. To this end, Textile Exchange has initiated the development of the Responsible Wool Standard. The RWS is designed to be a global standard that will protect animal welfare, influence best practices, ensure traceability, and ultimately give consumers clear and trustworthy information that will allow them to make responsible choices.

Work on the RWS began in February 2014, after H&M contacted TE about addressing their wool supply. The decision was made to involve the full industry, and as a result the development of the standard is being done through the International Working Group. This group represents the broad spectrum of interested parties, including animal welfare groups, brands, farmers, supply chain members, industry associations, as well as apparel, home, and carpeting brands.

The Wool International Working Group

Steering Committee:

Outdoor Industry Association
Responsible Ecosystems Sourcing Platform (RESP)
International Wool Textile Organization (Observer)
Humane Society International
Ovis 21
European Outdoor Group

Technical Group:

Control Union
Textile Exchange

Advisory Group:

New Merino
Stella McCartney
2025 Design
Gap Inc.

The project will address animal welfare (as expressed by the Five Freedoms), and potentially land management, farmer welfare, and proper chain of custody throughout the supply chain.

Background Information

Survey Result Summary

A brief survey was conducted to gather background information from the industry.

Wool Webinar PPT

Wool Webinar Recording

Standard Development Process

Draft Wool Work Plan

A work plan for the process has been developed. This is subject to change. If you have any questions about the process, please contact us at Integrity@TextileExchange.org.

Standard Development Participation Model

As we move forward with the development of the standard, we will be relying on stakeholder engagement throughout the process. 

Standard Setting Principles and Procedures

The Standard Development process at TE follows these guidelines.