Fuhrmann Managed Farms and Combing Mill Now RWS Certified
As of October 2018, Fuhrmann is an official supplier of Textile Exchange’s Responsible Wool Standard certified wool. The certification was obtained for all 12 Fuhrmann managed farms across Patagonia as well as the scouring and combing mill based in Trelew.
Ever since the Textile Exchange published its newly developed Responsible Wool Standard in 2016, Fuhrmann was watching the standard’s development closely. When the standard was also introduced to Argentina in 2017, Fuhrmann immediately partnered up with Textile Exchange to get the standard rolled out in Argentina.
Willy Gallia, Sustainability Manager at Fuhrmann explains: ‘As each wool growing country has different natural conditions, the RWS standard needs to be adapted locally to ensure the best animal welfare for sheep. Because we had already gained experience in adopting animal welfare protocols over the past 10 years on our own farms, we were able to assist Textile Exchange in preparing the standard for Argentina.’
Currently, Fuhrmann manages 12 sheep farms with a total of 130.000 sheep producing 460.000 kg of organic or in the process of becoming organic wool. In 2018, all sheep farms have been RWS certified. This involved educating all farm managers and farm employees about the requirements of the RWS protocol. ‘Effectively the implementation of the RWS standard leads to a cultural change on the farm because everyone involved needs to work more and in a different way’, says Marco Gallia, Managing Director at Fuhrmann.
Fuhrmann, who is part of The Schneider Group, not only manages 12 sheep farms but also scours and combs wool in its top making plant in Trelew. This kind of set up is a big benefit when it comes to the standard’s requirement of tracing wool along the supply chain. The RWS certification process for the combing mill was an easy step as the mill is already GOTS certified. Both standards require a chain of custody, therefore the system was already in place and working in order to fulfil the RWS requirements.
‘Becoming RWS certified was a natural decision to take, as the standard fits right in with the company’s philosophy of adhering to the highest standards available in all parts of the business,’ explains Giovanni Schneider CEO of the Schneider Group. He explains further: ‘In addition to the Trelew based mill also our mill Pettinatura Di Verrone based in the area of Biella became RWS certified in July 2018.’
Investment for the environment and animals
Implementing the RWS standard on all farms meant of course also an investment of time and money. Special care was taken to educate every team member about RWS and in particular about the animal welfare requirements. For the company, the investment was worth it, because the standard also helps to streamline all of its efforts towards adhering to high animal welfare and sustainable standards. RWS is a tool for helping each farm to become more effective and identifying the scope of improvement.
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