John Lewis recently announced plans to fund a three-year programme run by the Sustainable Fibre Alliance (SFA) to support the expansion of the latter’s new Cashmere Standard from Mongolia to the Inner Mongolia region of China. Climate change and increased global demand for cashmere are putting pressure on the fragile ecosystems the cashmere industry relies upon.
In response to this, a global standard has been developed by SFA to promote best practice in land management, animal welfare, fibre processing and supply chain transparency, ensuring long-term viability of the cashmere sector.
John Lewis is funding the training of 420 herders in Inner Mongolia on the global standard, a company press release said. The John Lewis Partnership owns and operates two of Britain’s best-loved retail brands—John Lewis and Waitrose.
Training will be provided by the International Cooperation Committee of Animal Welfare(ICCAW) together with experts from a local agricultural university. Once the herders complete their training, they will carry out self-assessment against the requirements of the standard and undergo independent farm inspections before being given SFA accreditation.
In the first year, the programme will focus on animal welfare, and then it will be expanded to cover the protection of biodiversity and how to secure herder livelihoods in the long term.