As many developing countries, Mongolia faces the challenge of balancing economic growth with environmental concerns. It is acknowledged that approximately 77% of its pasture land has been degraded and ¼ of the country has turned to desert. Poor production practices lead to negative environmental impacts.
The pasture degradation will inevitably jeopardize herders’ long-term livelihood since livestock forms the core source of their livelihoods with household income deriving from livestock products. The livestock sector output accounts for over 80% of the country’s agriculture output, employing close to 30% ot total workforce in the country.
MARKET SUPPLY AND DEMAND
Over the past five years, there has been a rise in demand for sustainable cashmere, mostly driven by movements in other fibres, increased engagement in understanding and managing the sustainability impact of the fashion industry, and concerns about campaigns from animal rights groups around the use of animal fibres.
Sustainable pasture management will ensure the nation’s long-term socioeconomic stability and resilience. Numerous NGOs, projects and intervention programs around “sustainable cashmere” are active in Mongolia to help address the issue but used different approaches and ways of measuring impact. This makes things difficult for buyers and brands to have clarity and confidence on what is the best approach to follow to ensure sourcing of cashmere is meeting their sustainability requirements.
UNDP Mongolia with the support of UNDP Green Commodities Program recognized the need to introduce sustainability measures into cashmere sector and initiated innovative Sustainable Cashmere Platform with the overarching objective to position Mongolia as a global leader for sustainable cashmere. But despite the progress made through standards and supply chain initiatives, weaknesses in the underlying enabling environment limit change at a larger scale.
Improving the enabling environments will increase the chances of sector-wide change to work towards sustainable production practices.
VOICES FROM THE FIELD:
In June 2019, the Conference “Multi-Stakeholder Collaboration for Systemic Change: The Case of Sustainable Cashmere” in Mongolia brought together 100 stakeholders from across the country’s Sustainable Cashmere value chain to sit in what is UNDP Green Commodities Programme’s latest multi-stakeholder initiative to create a space for all to gather and identify a common course of action. A conventional conference could have gathered civil society organizations, domestic industry groups and the government. However, representatives from leading global brands such as Gucci and H&M and the NGO Textile Exchange also joined the crowd, bringing a true multi-stakeholder approach to the conference. Textile Exchange, a global non-profit organization representing nearly 400 private sector member companies, amplified the voice of international buyers.
Things are moving fast in Mongolia. We celebrate a year of progress with a 10-minute throwback video to this very special first step.
Have a look and hear from the different voices in the field!
The Platform’s objectives are to ensure a strong and coherent legal and institutional framework for the sustainability of cashmere production in Mongolia and establish partnerships and coordinated investments and actions that accelerate current efforts to advance the sustainability of production and processing in Mongolia, which will enable it to be a global leader for sustainable cashmere production.