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Supply Chain & Ethics


Transparency and honesty have always been paramount components of Duckworth's business ethos. With this trend sweeping the industry, some might call us "early adopters" of the practice - but, for Duckworth, this isn't a marketing trick. It's a way of life that has been imbued into the brand since day one. 

Most of our competitors feature a "Our Supply Chain Process"page on their websites, using eye-catching graphics and quality photography to obscure the troubling realities of their environmental impacts. You may even come to believe a garment made in China or Vietnam, using wool from dozens of producers around the world, isn't all that big a deal. But it is, even if cleverly designed "greenwashing" mechanisms tell you otherwise



For example, here's the featured supply chain of a Merino Wool apparel industry leader, word-for-word, only without the cheery artwork designed to cloak their contents:

1. Wool Fiber Source (64% New Zealand, 14% Australia, 22% South Africa)⁣ ⁣ ⁣
2. Top Processing (China)⁣ ⁣ ⁣
3. Yarn Spinning (China, Italy, Bulgaria)⁣⁣ ⁣
4. Fabric Mills (China, Vietnam, Taiwan, Japan)⁣ ⁣ ⁣
5. Garment Suppliers (China, Vietnam, Bangladesh, USA, Italy)⁣ ⁣ ⁣
6. Distribution Centers (Germany, USA, Canada, New Zealand)⁣ ⁣
7. Our Customers*

*Some 47 nations around the world


Here's another, from one of our most prominent competitors - this is also a verbatim representation of their supply chain page:

1. Wool Fiber Source (Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, South America, USA, Uruguay, Argentina)⁣ ⁣⁣

2. Top Processing (Germany, Italy, China, Uruguay, Argentina)⁣ ⁣⁣
3. Yarn Spinning (Romania, Bulgaria, China)⁣⁣⁣
4. Fabric Mills (Australia, Turkey, USA)⁣ ⁣⁣
5. Garment Suppliers (Vietnam, Turkey, USA)⁣ ⁣⁣
6. Distribution Centers (USA)⁣⁣
7. Our Customers (USA)⁣⁣

By contrast, here is Duckworth's supply chain story:⁣ ⁣ ⁣

1. Wool Fiber Source (OUR RANCH in Montana)⁣ ⁣ ⁣
2. Top Processing (USA)⁣ ⁣ ⁣
3. Yarn Spinning (USA)⁣ ⁣
4. Fabric Mills (USA)⁣ ⁣
5. Garment Suppliers (USA)⁣ ⁣
6. Distribution Centers (USA)⁣ ⁣
7. Our Customers (USA)⁣ ⁣

Although the U.S. textile industry has been on the decline for decades, with competitors seeking cheaper and more environmentally damaging opportunities oversees, our Sheep to Shelf™ supply chain does more than bring jobs back to small American communities and keep technical knowledge close to home: it ensures maximum life cycle sustainability, cutting tens-of-thousands of miles worth of emissions from the equation for each garment.

Yes, it's more difficult to make things domestically than in a China or a Turkey, but isn't it worth it?



Occasionally, we receive inquiries from customers and fans regarding the treatment of our sheep: Are they treated with dignity? Are they subjected to undue stress? Do we practice "mulesing" on our sheep (an Australian sheepherding process that cuts pieces of skin from the hindquarters of living sheep to prevent the attraction of flies)? Do they enjoy rich diets?

What we tell them is simple and true: our Montana Merino sheep are the foundation of the entire operation, and are treated as such. In many senses, they lead lives only dreamt up by scores of people, totally immersed in the natural splendors and mountainscapes unique to Southwest Montana. In many instances, they only encounter humans in intimate ways for a few days each year, when they are shorn of their fleece and returned to the prairie and mountains where they lead lives akin to wild animals, grazing on natural grasses and Montana wildflowers. 

Of course we want them to be happy and stress-free. If the opposite was true, our wool would not boast the incredibly soft, yet durable, fibers with exceptional loft and breathability that have earned the loyal following of thousands across the continent.