Responsible Wool Standard

A global benchmark for animal welfare and land management in wool farming. Ensures ethical and sustainable practices.

Overall Score:


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Responsible Wool Standard






The Responsible Wool Standard (RWS) is a certification that validates ethical and sustainable wool production, covering everything from animal welfare to land management and social requirements. It is relevant for industries dealing with wool, including fashion and textiles. The certification extends to all sites in the supply chain, from wool farmers to the final business-to-business transaction.

Key Features

  • Adherence to the globally recognized Five Freedoms of animal welfare.
  • Complete prohibition on mulesing.
  • Optional application to slaughter sites.
  • Final products must not contain non-certified virgin wool to bear the RWS name or logo.


To acquire the certification, each stage in the supply chain is audited annually by a professional, third-party certification body. While the process is robust and transparent, it's worth noting that pain relief for tail docking or castration is not mandatory, and the slaughter of sheep is not prevented.

Duration and Renewal

The certification is valid for three years. Annual audits are conducted to ensure ongoing compliance. The standards are reviewed at least every five years to ensure they remain relevant and effective.

Impact and Significance

For organizations, the certification provides a competitive edge in the market and assures customers that the wool products they are purchasing meet high ethical and sustainability standards. However, the certification does not require adherence to recommendations for ongoing improvement, which serve as industry best practices but are not mandatory for maintaining the certification.