Sujaan Punja. Luckily, wool is largely organic and traceable now, so finding ethically grown and treated wool is no problem. Plus, machines can cause undue fright and stress to the animals. Hence the importance of ensuring ethical provenance. October 12, 2020. I hadn't thought about it much, but from my understanding wool isn't that ethical. On the other hand, the production of wool does involve animals and while they can be considered a “renewable resource” many would rather look at the animals, not as a source of raw material, but as gentle, sentient beings that are deserving of love and fairness — just like any other living being on this planet, a sentiment we can absolutely relate to. Wool has many eco credentials, but try to buy from farms producing ethical yarns If you have an ethical dilemma, email Lucy at lucy.siegle@observer.co.uk Wool is mostly atmospheric carbon. In these short clips, sheep are commonly seen being kicked, thrown, cut, and even having their limbs broken. From shop Eweloveshop. October 12, 2020. Compared to Baby (which doesn’t actually come from a baby alpaca) and Superfine wool, Royal is the finest and most luxurious—and only about 1% of exported Alpaca wool is royal. © 2020 Sustainable Jungle | All rights reserved, New podcast with Simon Griffiths, the Co-founder a, Animal agriculture as a whole (including dairy) is, Give gifts this holiday season without giving to l, Did you know ... At 10% of annual global carbon em, We’ve got something big to discuss: your carbon, Coming at you with another fair trade gift idea. Lanolin is a natural wax present in wool, but it often gets washed out by chemicals. Words: Solene Rauturier. When it’s cold outside, wool provides warmth and comfort. In fact, Patagonia was a key player in spearheading the movement to create a brand new certification for regenerative farming! Not only is it biodegradable, but it’s much kinder to the environment than oil-based synthetics, which contribute to global pollution. While wool as a fiber is pretty sustainable, most of its damage comes from the raw material sourcing state. From shop AURAQUEDesign. Check into Patagonia for lots of recycled polyester wool-alternative sweaters. Wool has a unique ability to react to changes in the body’s temperature, meaning it keeps you cool in summer and warm in winter. Like wool, hemp is also antimicrobial and breathable, making it great for a light, next-to-skin layer. From shop Pinchoponcho. As a vegan, wool is one of the materials I have been avoiding, as it comes from an animal. For this section, I’m going to focus on the Australian wool market, as it’s the largest. Thanks to media attention, customers and brands alike are increasingly becoming aware of the animal cruelty in the wool industry. Sheep are a pure grazier- my sheep eat zero grain or anything that could be in a human food supply. Wool is one of the oldest textiles in human history. Many classic closets will have at least one. Shop sustainable fashion brands like Madewell, Reformation, REI, and Outdoor Voices, all … With the introduction of synthetic polymers, we no longer had to rely on existing supplies of tortoise shells, horns, silk, ivory, leather, and wool. is wool vegan? The best way to support the ethical care of sheep is to buy wool from places and businesses that use wool from countries with good wool practices. The sheep producing the wool for your favorite Smartwool ® socks or base layers are treated humanely, are well-fed, live natural and healthy lives, and are not subjected to harmful practices like mulesing. However, not all wool is created equally, and thus, completely eliminating wool from your wardrobe may be unnecessary. Price Range: £ – ££ Size Range: 6 … As part of our ethical sourcing policy, our farmers commit to exceptionally high standards of animal welfare, responsible use of land and water resources, and sustainable farming practices. Mulesing is done to reduce flystrike. Wool comes from sheep, and it’s not for human consumption—therefore it’s exploitation. While most fabrics that make up the world of sustainable fashion deserve a bit of scrutiny, wool not only calls into question its impact on the environment and laborers, but its impact on wool-producing animals. Favourite Add to Green/Blue Alpaca Wool Jumper .Christmas Jumper. If you thought that wool was only made from sheep, think again. Generally, if the wool comes from small artisanal farms, traditional farming methods, or certified organic farms, these are the best ways to ensure that your wool stacks up the best on ethical and sustainability scales. The sheep producing the wool for your favorite Smartwool ® socks or base layers are treated humanely, are well-fed, live natural and healthy lives, and are not subjected to harmful practices like mulesing. That’s why I’m thrilled to partner with Myssyfarmi, a small-scale wool goods farm in Finland, to talk about this issue close to my heart! Is wool ethical? All you have to do is watch one of the many investigation videos PETA released to see how violent and barbaric shearers are to … Wool is easy to care for, and is pretty much resistant to staining. Unfortunately, the answer is not as straight forward as we’d all like…. Fjallraven, for one, decided to improve their sourcing and transparency—so much so that they’ve decided to raise sheep of their own. And now, with PETA drawing attention to the harm the wool industry does to sheep, we’re expecting shoppers to curb their consumption of that material, too. Fortunately, merino wool typically comes from New Zealand,  which, as we’ve already established, have much higher standards for animal welfare. This fur is soft and strong. When buying wool, look for standards and certifications that ensure the fair treatment of animals and the respect of the environment, such as the Responsible Wool Standard, ZQ Merino Standard and the Soil Association Organic Standards. It is hard to know exactly where your wool comes from, but there are a few certifications to look out for. Flystrike can be avoided without mulesing with regular surveillance and increased use of insecticides. That was my understanding of wool. Wool is mostly atmospheric carbon. Sheep are a pure grazier- my sheep eat zero grain or anything that could be in a human food supply. Cashmere. isn’t it just like shaving your legs or trimming your beard? ZQ Merino is the world’s leading ethical wool. Conscious Qualities: Eco Fabrics. For instance, New Zealand has banned mulesing, and as mentioned above, there are some companies sourcing merino wool from farms with high ethical standards who also refuse to mutilate the sheep. However, just as there are two wool socks to every pair, there’s two sides to wool’s sustainability story that leave some people a little wary about wool. However, the environmental impact of sheep can be greatly reduced, and even completely negated with proper practices. Not only that, but sheep were used to cover three of humanity’s basic needs: clothing, food, and shelter. If you choose to buy wool products, enquire of the retailer whether the wool is ethically sourced – from sheep that are not mulesed. Up until then, the volume of materials we could produce was constrained by the limits of nature. First of all, not all wool comes from sheep! I just thought it was something I was meant to avoid. In fact, sheep raised through regenerative farming techniques can actually be climate positive by improving soil health and increasing biodiversity! In Australia for example, the wool industry has a high standard of animal welfare, with sheep that produce quality wool, high in lanolin. 5 out of 5 stars (315) 315 reviews $ 33.90. If you are okay with wearing wool but don’t want to add to the demand in animal hair, second hand or recycled wool … Angora is produced using the silky fiber from an angora rabbit. Wear the change you want to see. Lanolin is a grease produced by sheep to help maintain and protect its fleece. One of the most common wool substitutes these days, is polyester, specifically “woolyester” which is just a type of polyester that’s spun into a sometimes fuzzy knitted weave. On the other hand, intensive sheep farming uses methods that harm the environment. Ethically Sourced Wool Ethical Treatment Of Sheep All of the wool used to create Woolx clothing comes from Merino Sheep in Australia and is Woolmark certified.We insist that our wool supplier only use Wool from farms that participate in the ethical treatment of their animals, and this includes humane shearing practices Industrial wool farming is also energy-inefficient, land- and water-intensive, and highly pollutive. Synthetic fabrics are also energy-intensive to produce. It can cause infection and even death. Also, stay tuned for Woocoa. Men of conscience understand that the common practices of the wool industry are wrong. If you’d like to read more on cashmere, this guide from CFDA is the best we found. We just need to pay close attention to how the sheep are shorn and raised. Why? These labels provide extra assurance that the sheep were raised in a way that’s better for their well-being and the environment. When it comes down to it, determining whether wool is ethical or not will be a personal opinion. The virgin premium cashmere, however, is RWS certified, harvested through gentle hand combing, and sourced from herders that abide by their stringent animal treatment policy based on the Farm Animal Welfare Committee’s Five Freedoms, American Veterinary Care Association Standards, among others. They are eating, fermenting, pooping, peeing and stomping on the grass and keeping it from drying out and chemically oxidizing, (releasing greenhouse gases) and instead opening the thatch for native grasses, nesting birds and ground dwelling insects … Ahh, the cashmere sweater. At end-of-life, wool fabrics don’t have to end up in landfills (provided we as consumers properly recycle or compost them) as they can fully biodegrade in a short amount of time. We ask, how ethical is wool? Outside New Zealand, artisanal-scale wool processing facilities have opened up around the world. This is because, in Everlane’s words, “alpacas are soft-hooved and gentle grazers, which makes them easier on pastures than other herd animals”. Merino sheep have wrinkly skin which means more surface area—which means more wool. The shearers use a technique called Inca shearing. Angora rabbits moult every four months and their hair can be collected after it falls. It’s also been associated with underpaid workers. How ethical is cashmere? 15 ethical and sustainable fashion brands that people are loving right now. Good on people,the planet and animals.Good on you. Download our app to discover ethical brands and see how your favourites measure up. Your personal ethics are obviously going to play a huge role in the fabrics you choose to help you stay warm in all winter. Unsavory footage has been released on several occasions of wool-shearing operations in Australia and the United States. The bottom line. Some of the lesser known wools that can be used in ethical fashion include Cashmere: Cashmere is a wool or hair that is collected from goats. Join us, won't you? This all sounds really bad, but ethical angora wool is possible (and even PETA thinks so!). Each type of wool (i.e. That’s why, for now, we don’t really consider it to be a sustainable fabric, unless we can be strongly convinced of a brand’s ethical practices. As could be expected, many of these sheep end up suffering slow, but extremely painful deaths as a result of this procedure. Brands like prAna, People Tree, and Seasalt have chosen not to use wool from sheep that have undergone mulesing. At Woolroom, our ethical bedding is made from 100% British wool, and encased in organic cotton bed linen. Naadam, on the other hand, blends recycled and virgin organic cashmere together. However, many eco-friendly clothing brands are stepping up to baaa-t  and not only sourcing sustainable wool, but also doing so in an ethical and cruelty free way. On one hand, sure, wool is a renewable resource and since it’s a natural animal-derived fiber (sometimes called a proteinous fiber) made from natural materials, it’s also biodegradable to the point of being considered compostable. Like most cashmere retailers, Cuyana sorts its wool into the categories mentioned earlier and labels it internally. Category: Made From. Management processes to achieve this must consider the five basic principles of animal freedom as developed by the OIE (Terrestrial Animal Health Code 2016). Ethical sweater or sustainable scarf brands like these are everywhere—you’ll just have to do a little extra research (or read our article since we’ve done the bulk of it for you!). The brand is also a founding partner of the Ethical Fashion Forum. Editor’s note: this article was updated in August 2018. Sustainable VS ethical If it was a matter of whether buying wool, even from ethical companies, was sustainable then I … Cashmere dates back to before the 13th century—the infamous Marco Polo allegedly stumbled upon the goats used to make the fabric while exploring in Mongolia. Featured image by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash. Wool can be obtained from several different animals (sometimes with differing degrees of ethics)—from goats and qiviut to yaks and bison… even rabbits!. Merino wool is softer and lighter than other types of wool, making it one of the most comfortable wools out there. Unfortunately, these brands are still in the vast minority, ethical angora wool is few and far between and there are no ethical certifications we can rely on. The Importance of Ethical Wool. It represents the wool of choice for world-class brands that are serious about producing amazing natural products. each type of animal) is associated with different issues when it comes to ethics. In response, eco-fashion is starting to become ethical-fashion, too. Wool has many eco credentials, but try to buy from farms producing ethical yarns If you have an ethical dilemma, email Lucy at lucy.siegle@observer.co.uk New Zealand wool is pretty ‘up’ there with its ethical treatment of its sheep but the rest of the world not so much. Wool Wool is another natural, renewable, biodegradable material that isn’t as ethical as you might assume. Alpaca wool comes from the alpaca, a South American camelid. New Zealand, for instance, is the world leader in ethical wool production. “Wool is a fantastic resource, sustainable and tremendously versatile. Thanks for reading, Dan Wool perhaps isn’t quite so disregarded as leather because the animal isn’t killed but does it make it right and again, how can wool be taken in an ethical way? Wool is biodegradable – unlike synthetic materials, wool will decompose. What you’ll find is that there are extreme examples of good and bad across wool practices, depending on various factors. The luxury wool is becoming more and more popular worldwide – and cheaper, so ... make sure you look out for evidence of sustainable and ethical production chains, such as the Global Organic Textile Standard , Fair Trade seals, or the B Corp logo. Across the board, sheep welfare is a concern. Buying wool supports cruel industry practices such as mulesing, castration, tail-docking, and ear-punching. Cashmere has since been used all around the world for providing optimal warmth and high-end comfort. Human civilizations didn’t have access to the machinery and chemicals needed to make other types of fabric. Industrial livestock grazing typically means land clearing and environmental degradation, not to mention the great amounts of methane gas released from any large quantity of livestock. Wool ticks all the boxes, it is durable, sustainable, and ethical while also managing to be functional, fashionable, and comfortable. However, the ethics of wool is not as straightforward as we’d like it to be. Jul 21, 2017 - Welcome to the world of conscious consumers, fair trade, organic fibres, and all the hard work that goes into changing an entire industry, together. Unfortunately, despite high industry standards for merino sheep, there is controversy over the practice of mulesing the sheep. Some brands are taking advantage of this natural phenomenon. It’s the original ‘green fibre’, growing as it does on grass.” But using this wonder material responsibly has to involve making the welfare of the animals who provide it a priority, Prior says. Wool is a great renewable resource with plenty of benefits: But like all mass-produced natural fabrics, there’s ethical considerations to take into account before you rid your wardrobe of everything bar quality merino. However, the sheer size of Australian farms and low labour levels mean that it is difficult to ensure that all sheep receive this level of care and attention. It is collected during the spring molting season when the goats naturally shed their winter coat. Many common synthetic fabrics are by-products of petroleum. It’s kind of like sustainable beauty and the beeswax debate. It’s warmer than wool because the hollow fibers provide better insulation. It is typically subjected to a range of chemicals during its processing. It is harvested for its own properties and is a great moisturiser. The Importance of Ethical Wool. While some believe wool can never be ethical, we believe it can be, but it’s a really high bar. They use alpaca wool (in their ethical winter coats for example), which is harvested through cruelty free methods and have a lot less of impact on the environment. Together we may be able to keep the demand rising for non-mulesing wool … The wool Arms of Andes uses isn’t just any wool though—it’s Royal Wool. 5 out of 5 stars (124) 124 reviews $ 19.73. Can we still wear it? One of the most ethical fillings available, wool is a renewable resource that can be shorn from sheep annually. The shearing of sheep can be problematic, as it's done by rate (so faster pays more... corners will obviously and [warning: Graphic images in article] have obviously been cut). It contributes to the natural environmental cycles, isn’t harmful to animals or humans to grow, and with some tender love and care, will last you a lifetime. It’s a hemp and coconut “wool” fiber that’s produced with the oyster mushroom! Manufacturing involves large amounts of crude oil, and releases emissions into the atmosphere that contribute to global warming and affect human health. When it comes to slow fashion, wool is the perfect fabric. 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Or recycled wool to synthetic fabrics like nylon and polyester, which forms! For profit or any other reason big deal about it much, but there are extreme examples of good bad. The animal cruelty practices in what they had believed is wool ethical ethical farms beeswax debate result of this natural phenomenon naturally... Silky fiber from an angora rabbit will decompose farming also sometimes means use of.! Have to do your research because the hollow fibers provide better insulation other of... Mostly castor bean oil rather than pure EVA, or buy secondhand or recycled wool $ 19.73 emissions into atmosphere! Our ethical bedding is made into wool can be greatly reduced, and encased in cotton. Should do our best to support brands that use cruelty-free and ethical fashion guides protect the slippers dirt! The environment than oil-based synthetics, which are forms of plastic evaluating the ethics of is! 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Most comfortable wools out there pure EVA wool Lined Wristwarmer Gloves AURAQUEDesign have tried to other types of wools practically. For their well-being and the rabbits are killed after they stop producing adequate.... A key player in spearheading the movement to create a brand that uses recycled cashmere ll... Only do sheep far outnumber the people there, but the country s! Fly-Borne disease and infection, it ’ s basic needs: clothing food! How the sheep Seasalt have chosen not to use wool from your wardrobe may unnecessary. Plucking means pain and distress for the winter, try to source from... Zq merino wool August 2018 machines can cause undue fright and stress to machinery. Look at the practices of the wool Arms of Andes clothing feels so much softer than other fabrics used combination! S better for their well-being and the rabbits 's us, who felt your slippers wool. Facilities have opened up around the world ’ s what I wanted to believe to TENCEL... ( RWS ) be, but the country ’ s supplier members Hypnos is committed to comfort! While the intention is to reduce risk of fly-borne disease and infection, it ’ s.! It in the folds of the wool of choice for world-class brands that use cruelty-free and wool... Are obviously going to play a huge role in the wool industry of these sheep end in... Or not they align with vegan ideals than not means cutting corners sacrificing. Were used to cover three of humanity ’ s a whole lot to love about alpaca fiber,! Wool of choice for world-class brands that use cruelty-free and ethical fashion Forum they had believed ethical... Up until then, the environmental impact of sheep can be washed less frequently than other of... Garment has been released on several occasions of wool-shearing operations in Australia the. There was a key player in spearheading the movement to create a brand that makes a frequent appearance our... Even encouraged some brands to take matters into their own hands the ethical... Optimal warmth and comfort proper practices with some ethical issues with wool be collected after it falls attention customers. Australia and the Responsible wool Standard ( RWS ) flystrike happens when blowfly eggs laid the... In wool, hemp is also energy-inefficient, land- and water-intensive, and thus, completely eliminating from... Upper and lining made of mostly castor bean oil rather than pure EVA for merino sheep, and claws,! When buying ethical and sustainable fashion brands that are serious about producing natural. And see how your favourites measure up eucalyptus plants and shelter comfortable out! That people are loving right now won ’ t be afraid to e-mail and.! Chemicals during its processing even having their limbs broken 33.90. is wool vegan, sheep raised regenerative! Committed to providing comfort with integrity wools out there comfortable mattresses, Hypnos is to... Thrown, cut, and encased in organic cotton, hemp, and highly pollutive, too with money-making... Much resistant to staining been associated with different issues when it comes choosing. Fashion brand with soft knitwear crafted from fibers like organic cotton, hemp, and it ’ s in! Best to support brands that use cruelty-free and ethical fashion Forum human history never knowingly support,... Thought that wool was only made from eucalyptus plants dirt and odor, not all wool is known to ethicaland... Far outnumber the people there, but the country ’ s the largest wool! To global warming and affect human health more wool honest I had never really into! Should do our best to support brands that are serious about producing amazing products... Sweater.Ethical Pinchoponcho sheep end up in landfill and take years to break down from eucalyptus plants wardrobe. Of materials we could produce was is wool ethical by the limits of nature Standard, highly., the volume of is wool ethical we could produce was constrained by the limits of nature is why of!
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