// John Lewis to provide funding to train 420 herders to safeguard future of the cashmere sector
// The programme is run by the Sustainable Fibre Alliance (SFA)
// The initiative will promote best practice in land management, animal welfare, fibre processing and supply chain transparency
John Lewis has announced new funding for the training of 420 herders as part of a three-year sustainable cashmere programme.
The retailer said the initiative will be launched in an effort to safeguard the future of the cashmere sector.
The programme is run by the Sustainable Fibre Alliance (SFA) and will support the expansion of the Alliance’s new cashmere standard from Mongolia to the Inner Mongolia region of China.
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The initiative will promote best practice in land management, animal welfare, fibre processing and supply chain transparency to help secure the long-term viability of the cashmere sector.
The training of 420 herders in Inner Mongolia on the global standard will be provided by animal welfare NGO and the International Cooperation Committee of Animal Welfare.
The herders will be required to complete self-assessments and undergo independent farm inspections before receiving SFA accreditation.
The programme is focused on animal welfare during the first year.
In the second and third year, it will cover the protection of biodiversity and provide guidance on how to secure long-term work as a herder.
“It’s very important to us and our customers that all of the raw materials in our products are sourced in a way that’s good for the animals, land and people involved in their production,” John Lewis Partnership ethics and sustainability director Marija Rompani said.
“We have committed to ensuring all key raw materials in our own-brand products will be from sustainable or recycled sources by 2025.
“We’re very proud to be a pioneer member of the Sustainable Fibre Alliance (SFA) and to play a part in developing their global standard for sustainable cashmere production.
“This work will protect the welfare of the goats, the land and the livelihoods of thousands of families who are dependent upon the production of cashmere fibres.”