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Supply Chain & Ethics

OUR SUPPLY CHAIN VS. THE COMPETITION'S

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.

All other Merino Wool apparel companies tap dozens of other countries, many with limited environmental regulations, to complete their supply chain. Typically, our competitors source their wool in New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Uruguay, and Argentina. Then they process and spin their wool into yarn in China, Italy, Bulgaria, Argentina, Uruguay, and Romania. Fabric is made in the likes of China, Vietnam, Taiwan, Japan, Turkey, and Australia, before it is cut into garments in China, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Italy, and Turkey. Finally, they distribute out of Germany, the U.S., Canada, and New Zealand. 

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)⁣ ⁣

Duckworth-Merino-Wool-Supply-Chain-Map

Although the U.S. textile industry has been on the decline for decades, with competitors seeking cheaper and more environmentally damaging opportunities overseas, 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?

 

ETHICAL TREATMENT OF OUR SHEEP

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? 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. They are our livelihood. Totally immersed in the natural splendors and mountainscapes unique to Southwest Montana, 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. 

Duckworth-Merino-Wool-Sheep-Prairie-Grazing

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 tens of thousands across the continent.