Imperial Stock Ranch, a producer and harvester of natural wool, has received certification from NSF International to the Textile Exchange’s Responsible Wool Standard

ANN ARBOR, Mich. and SHANIKO, Ore. - NSF International, a global public health organization, has certified Imperial Stock Ranch as the first U.S.-based farm to Textile Exchange’s Responsible Wool Standard (RWS). This voluntary global standard demonstrates that a ranch or farm practices the highest levels of animal welfare and land management, and that the wool is fully traceable throughout its supply chain.

RWS requires all sites that handle wool, from farms to the final manufacturer, to be certified. Only products containing 100 percent certified wool can be labeled with the RWS logo. Certification to RWS ensures the sheep are responsibly treated following the Five Freedoms, according to the Farm Animal Welfare Council. These include freedom from hunger and thirst; freedom from discomfort; freedom from pain, injury or disease; freedom to express normal behavior and freedom from fear and distress. Certification to RWS also confirms that a farm or ranch follows enhanced land management methods that protect soil health, biodiversity and native species. Certification includes on-site audits for all entities throughout the supply chain, from the farm or ranch to the manufacturing facility. Continued certification requires annual surveillance audits.

“NSF International is pleased to announce the certification of Imperial Stock Ranch to the Responsible Wool Standard,” said Jenny Oorbeck, General Manager for Sustainability, NSF International. “The certification of Imperial Stock Ranch to the Responsible Wool Standard by NSF International confirms its commitment to animal welfare, land management and traceability of the wool it produces, providing consumers with the most responsibly sourced wool products on the market.”

NSF International was part of the pilot process for the development of RWS, conducting audits at two separate ranches, including Imperial Stock Ranch, during critical times of the sheep life cycle. After completion of the pilot process, Imperial Stock Ranch began the certification process.

“Imperial Stock Ranch is very pleased to be certified by NSF International to the rigorous Responsible Wool Standard,” said Jeanne Carver of Imperial Stock Ranch. “Imperial Stock Ranch understands our role as responsible producers of wool from the health of the sheep to the hand-picked shearers who have worked at our ranch for decades. Certification to the Responsible Wool Standard demonstrates our commitment to animal welfare and land management practices.”

For more information on NSF International certification to the Responsible Wool Standard, contact Phil Alexandrin at responsibletextiles@nsf.org or visit NSF’s Responsible Wool Standard web page.

Editor’s Note: To schedule an interview with Jenny Oorbeck, General Manager of NSF Sustainability, contact Liz Nowland-Margolis at media@nsf.org or +1 734.418.6624.

About NSF International: NSF International is an independent organization that writes standards, tests and certifies products for the construction, food, water and commercial and consumer goods industries to minimize adverse health effects and protect the environment. Founded in 1944, NSF is committed to protecting human health and safety worldwide. NSF is a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Food and Water Safety and Indoor Environment.

NSF’s sustainability services include a range of standardized and proprietary methods of measuring sustainability for organizations, products, processes, supply chains and services. Through its National Center for Sustainability Standards, NSF International has developed animal welfare and sustainability standards for product categories such as down, chemicals, building products and materials, and water quality. NSF works with leading regulators, scientists, engineers, public health and environmental health professionals, and industry representatives to develop these transparent, science-based standards, protocols, and product category rules.

About Imperial Stock Ranch: Established in 1871, Imperial Stock Ranch has been raising sheep and cattle, and producing grains and hay for 147 years. Located in Oregon’s high desert interior, it is the only ranch in Oregon designated a National Historic District that is still in operation. Owners Dan and Jeanne Carver believe in living and working in balance with nature. Under their stewardship and land management practices, the ranch is recognized as a model of sustainable agriculture.

In 1999, during a collapsing U.S. wool market, Imperial Stock Ranch began selling the ranch’s raw wool harvests by creating and selling premium wool yarns and finished products. Working with a number of U.S. textile processing and manufacturing partners, the 147-year-old ranch successfully transitioned from selling wool as a commodity to selling traceable wool products into eco-chic craft, fashion and retail markets, and onto a global stage with Ralph Lauren’s uniforms for Team USA at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

About Textile Exchange: Textile Exchange (TE), founded in 2002, is a global nonprofit organization that works closely with all sectors of the textile supply chain to find the best ways to minimize and even reverse the negative impacts on water, soil, air, animals, and the human population created by this $1.7 trillion USD industry. TE accomplishes this by providing the knowledge and tools the industry needs to make significant improvements in three core areas: Fiber and Materials, Integrity and Standards, and Supply Chain. A truly global organization, TE is headquartered in the United States with staff and ambassadors located in 10 countries. To learn more about Textile Exchange, visit: TextileExchange.org and follow TE on Twitter at @TextileExchange.