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The ZQ Wool Certification is a comprehensive program that validates a brand's commitment to responsible wool production. Established in 2007 by NZM, it was the world's first on-farm certification program focusing on animal welfare, environmental integrity, social responsibility, fiber quality, and traceability. This certification is particularly relevant for wool growers and apparel companies. ZQ ensures safe and healthy workplaces, fair wages, and income stability for growers through a forward contract model. However, it's worth noting that the certification does not extend beyond the farm gate.
ZQ growers are required to create a Land Environmental Plan tailored to their individual property.
Farms compliant with ZQ are also audited for conformity with the Responsible Wool Standard (RWS).
While the certification prohibits mulesing, it does not mandate pain relief for tail docking or castration, nor does it prevent the slaughter of sheep or the practice of winter lambing.
To acquire the ZQ Wool Certification, farms must undergo audits every three years, conducted by accredited third-party auditors. This ensures a high level of credibility and eliminates any conflict of interest.
The certification does not specify a validity period but focuses on ongoing improvement. ZQ invests in projects that support growers in areas like animal health, sustainability, and biodiversity, providing them with the tools they need for continuous improvement.
Obtaining the ZQ Wool Certification offers multiple benefits. For the organization, it serves as a testament to responsible farming practices and high-quality wool production. For consumers and stakeholders, it provides assurance that the wool is sourced from farms that adhere to strict standards for animal welfare and environmental sustainability. However, the certification's limitations, such as not extending beyond the farm gate and not mandating pain relief for certain animal procedures, may be points of consideration for some stakeholders.