YARN SOURCING OVERVIEW
Our sustainability journey starts at the sourcing stage. We carefully select our suppliers to ensure they comply with the highest environmental standards available for heavy duty commercial fabric production. Sustainability doesn’t just apply to the afterlife of a product, but first how we create and where we source from.
We source three types of yarn for our fabrics: wool, polyester and wool nylon blend. It is essential to our ethos that the yarn is only sourced from suppliers that adhere to our environmental standards. For almost two decades we have only worked with suppliers that partake in our auditing process to ensure that the standard continues to be met year after year.
Our standard is in alignment with our Good Environmental Choice Australia
(GECA) certification which you can read more about here. As per this certification, all wool and wool-nylon blend yarn sourced must adhere to the EU Ecolabel standard for textiles. The eco-polyester is OEKO-TEX® and GECA certified.
Established in 1992 and recognised across Europe and worldwide, the EU
Ecolabel is a label of environmental excellence that is awarded to products and services meeting high environmental standards throughout their life cycle: from raw material extraction, to production, distribution and disposal.
Our yarns compliance with this standard means our sourcing process is
environmentally preferable and can pass that guarantee onto our clients.
SOURCING SUSTAINABLE WOOL
Sustainable Living Fabrics uses only Australian wool in our 100% wool ranges and our wool-rich blends. This yarn is a rapidly renewable resource that has been independently tested and audited at all stages of production to comply with EU Ecolabel criteria.
Australia maintains world-class animal health and welfare standards, as well as having strict regional and national bio-security programs to prevent the outbreak and spread of infectious diseases. There are many rigorous restrictions regarding certain herbicides and pesticides that can be used around Australian livestock, ensuring the quality of the wool and the safety of the sheep producing the wool.
Wool is one of the most sustainable fibres available, which is why the majority of our collection is made from it. Wool is a renewable product; each year sheep produce a fleece, making wool a natural and rapidly regenerative resource.
What makes wool biodegradable is a natural protein called Keratin, the same protein found in human hair. This gives wool its resilience and elasticity as well as its ability to decompose in soil, enriching the soil and nourishing new life.
Wool absorbs harmful pollutants from the air and it doesn’t re-emit them. It is estimated that wool used in interiors can help purify the air for 30 years.
Read more about this in our Indoor Air Quality section here.
ETHICAL FARMING PRACTICES
All the wool yarn that we purchase is sourced from suppliers that are third party audited to the international recognised Responsible Wool Standard (RWS) under the EU Ecolabel.
KEY PRINCILES OF THE RWS
1. PROTECTING ANIMAL WELFARE
‘The Five Freedoms’ are protected, referencing standards and best wool farming practices around the world.
A. Freedom from hunger and thirst
B. Freedom from discomfort
C. Freedom from pain, injury and disease
D. Freedom to express normal behaviours
E. Freedom fear and distress.
2. PRESERVING LAND HEALTH
Progressive methods of land management are practiced on RWS farms, protecting soil health, biodiversity and native species.
3. PROTECTING SOCIAL WELFARE
Social welfare, working conditions, and health and safety of workers is addressed.
4. CHAIN OF CUSTODY
Certification ensures that the identity of the RWS wool is maintained at all times: from the farm to the final product.
5. CREDIBLE CERTIFICATION
A professional, third party certification body audits each stage in the supply chain. Only products with 100% certified wool may carry the RWS logo.
6. STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT
The RWS was developed with the input of farmers, animal welfare experts, land conservation experts, brands and retailers from all parts of the globe.
SOURCING POLYESTER AND
It is vital for us to prioritise complete transparency. It is no secret that natural fibres are far more sustainable than synthetics. However, creating quality fabrics that stand the test of time on a commercial scale while ensuring they also meet our high environmental standard is often a balancing act.
It is our aim to provide the most environmentally preferable option whilst still ensuring our fabric is fit for purpose. Synthetics are used to enhance durability and provide options for our clients with varying budgets. This is where the use of nylon and polyester comes in. Therefore, how can we can ensure they are sustainable?
POLYESTER AND WOOL-NYLON STANDARDS
Both our polyester and wool-nylon yarns are certified carbon neutral as well as GECA certified with full content traceability. This GECA standard means our fabrics and dyes must be harmless to marine environments and aquatic life.
Our use of nylon is minimal as it is only blended into selected wool yarns we use, this is added to guarantee commercial level strength and durability. The wool-nylon we use is EU Ecolabel certified under our wool-nylon certification.
Another way we guarantee best practice for our polyester is the STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX®. It is one of the world’s best-known labels for textiles tested for harmful substances. Carrying this label means that our polyester has been tested and certified harmless for human health. The criteria catalog is updated at least once a year and expanded with new scientific knowledge or statutory requirements.
Click here to read more about STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX®
GECA CRITERION FOR SYNTHETICS EMMISSION STANDARDS FOR SYNTHETIC FIBRES
Criterion 24: Polyamide (Nylon)
The emissions to air of N20 during monomer production, expressed as an annual average, shall not exceed 10g/kg polyamide 6 fibre produced and 50g/kg polyamide 6,6 produced.
Criterion 25: Polyester
i. the amount of antimony in the polyester fibres shall not exceed 260 ppm.
ii. the emissions of VOCs during polymerisation and fibre production of polyester measured at the process steps where they occur, including fugitive emissions, expressed as an annual average, shall not exceed 1.2g/kg of produced polyester resin.