The environmental impacts of wool
From greenhouse gas emissions to biodiversity loss, the wool industry has a huge impact on our environment. Raising sheep for wool leads to deforestation and land clearance, soil degradation, soil erosion and biodiversity loss, not to mention the often cruel and inhumane treatment of sheep during the farming process.
According to the Higg Materials Sustainability Index, the greenhouse gas emissions from wool production are ‘far greater than those caused by the production of acrylic, nylon, viscose, and many other synthetic materials’.
The social and animal welfare issues associated with the wool industry – including the mistreatment of sheep for their wool – stems from a lack of industry regulation. Requiring brands to seek out and rely upon third-party certifications to ensure certain standards are met is essential. Discover more about Stella McCartney’s impact in our Impact Report 2021.
Cradle to Cradle Certification
The Cradle to Cradle Certified® Standard drives innovation and positive change for both Stella McCartney and the fashion industry. The certification looks at five categories:
- Material health
- Material reutilisation
- Renewable energy and carbon management
- Water stewardship
- Social fairness
We worked with one of our key knitwear suppliers to pursue Gold-Level Cradle to Cradle Certification for one of our most-used wool yarns and were the first fashion brand to achieve this.
Working closely with an independent assessor, we focused on optimising every step of our wool supply chain. This included avoiding the use of pesticides around sheep, changing the chemistry of the dyes we use and improving the health, safety and sustainability of the material itself.