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As global leaders in ethical wool production, the team at The New Zealand Merino Company (NZM) was proud to work with Textile Exchange in the development of the Responsible Wool Standard (RWS) as we share common goals with respect to transparency and animal welfare. The RWS was developed through an open and transparent process led by Textile Exchange and a multi-stakeholder group which included representatives from across the industry and different sectors, including animal welfare groups, industry organizations, supply chain members, brands, and area experts.


Textile Exchange and NZM have worked together to create a robust combined audit process and checklist that simultaneously addresses both RWS and ZQ requirements. This means that farms audited and compliant to ZQ after April 2021 will also simultaneously be audited to and be in conformity with the RWS.


RWS is an industry tool designed to recognize the best practices of farmers, ensuring that wool comes from farms with a progressive approach to managing their land and from sheep that have been treated responsibly. As an independent, voluntary standard, companies can choose to become certified to the RWS, and the standard is globally applicable to all breeds of sheep and provides a robust chain of custody system, from farm to final product.


ZQ is an on-farm certification programme established by NZM in 2007 and was the first such programme in the world to require growers to meet strict standards with regard to animal welfare, environmental integrity, social responsibility, fibre quality, and traceability. ZQ and Textile Exchange have worked closely together since the launch of RWS in 2016 to ensure alignment and harmonisation of the audit process and to maximise the positive impact of both programmes on the environment, farming communities, and livestock.




ZQ (and ZQRX) provides brands with Responsible Wool Standard (RWS) certification.  Both RWS and ZQ requirements are simultaneously addressed through a robust combined audit process.

Released in 2016, RWS was created collaboratively by the Textile Exchange to establish best practice standards for the industry.  RWS is available outside of contracts via the commodity auction market.

ZQ is world’s first ethical wool program created in 2007 to ensure the best animal welfare, environmental integrity, social responsibility, fibre quality, and traceability standards.  ZQ contract supply also provides brands with marketing and communications support as well as stability in price and quality.

Send us a message! We are one of the largest global suppliers of RWS wool and would love to learn more about your interest in RWS and your future business needs.

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