Textile Exchange has revealed that Arket, Eileen Fisher and M&S have further committed to its Recycled Wool Standard after the three retailers released their first RWS certified clothes with a stated intention to release more RWS certified apparel. Through its Arket lifestyle stores, RWS certified products first appeared through H&M in September featuring certified wool from Uruguay and Australia. Launched in 2016, the RWS has since been adopted by the Argentinian wool industry and also been backed by a number of other brands including Patagonia, which has also adopted the standard.

Yet although there are RWS certified wool farms in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the United States, Argentina and Uruguay, the standard has also been met with some resistance among woolgrowers – particularly in Australia, which is by far the world’s largest producer of merino wool for clothing. Eileen Fisher’s recently released RWS certified garments were made of wool from New Zealand and Argentina, while the M&S certified range can trace its roots back to Wools of New Zealand, including Palliser Ridge.

Founder Eileen Fisher said, “I believe that the only way we’ll have a more responsible industry is if we help lead the change. That means engaging with partners who share our values – other brands, our suppliers and our customers. And that’s how we approached responsible wool: by partnering with Textile Exchange and the right farms.” “This is an important milestone as part of our ongoing Plan A commitment to be more transparent about our suppliers and ensure our raw materials come from more sustainable sources, which respect people, communities, the planet and animal welfare,” said Phil Townsend of Marks & Spencer.