AUSTRALIAN Merino wool from non-mulesed sheep will be sold under a New Zealand brand after a trans-Tasman marketing partnership was announced recently.
The partnership between wool companies Australian Wool Network and the New Zealand Merino Company will see greater global access to ethically sourced, sustainable Merino fibre, a joint statement said.
The deal will allow AWN to supply NZM’s ZQ Merino program, touted as the world’s largest ethical wool brand.
NZM chief executive officer John Brakenridge said NZ wool growers can’t produce enough of certain wool types, and demand for high quality, ethically sourced Merino fibre has outstripped supply from New Zealand.
“While we are working hard to find ways to increase our own capacity for supply, a trans-Tasman partnership with AWN will give us access to premium quality fibre, grown to the highest standards, to help us meet the shortfall,” he said.
AWN managing director John Colley said there is no doubt that production of wool produced according to these new standards regarding animal welfare, including no mulesing, environmental integrity and social responsibility is a sign of the future.
“We already see a demand for it and many of our wool growers recognise this too.
“The market pendulum is swinging this way and it’s now the right time to encourage more of our clients to consider their options, not just because of the ethical principles but it’s also a proven example of how to add-value to fibre for the future,” he said.
To supply NZM’s ZQ program, AWN’s growers will need to undertake independent, third-party audits that provide assurance to end users that the fibre has been produced according to environmental, social and animal welfare standards, including not mulesing sheep. NZM wool growers gain access to multi-year supply contracts.
Trans-Tasman partnership is a natural fit
Mr Brakenridge said the partnership with AWN was a natural fit for both companies.
“AWN focuses on developing long-term relationships with growers who want to innovate and progress their industry and they have been providing a provenance pipeline with their Direct Network Advantage (DNA) program for some years now – both of these strategies align well to our approach at New Zealand Merino,” he said.
Mr Colley said the partnership will help AWN support its wool growers who are striving for even greater value from their on-farm efforts to produce premium, sustainable and ethically raised Merino fibre to meet a growing global demand.
“We’re looking forward to creating a new supply chain with new wool specification requirements that will directly benefit AWN wool growers through our partnership with NZM.”
For more information about ZQ’s accreditation program click here
I wish ZQ Merino wool items were easier to find. I understand the need for educating people on all the work being done to treat animals humanely so we can feel good about buying wool again. I have no problem paying more if it means the animals are treated and shorn with extra care. But to find a throw or cardigan sweater shouldn’t have to take repeated attempts over hours and days sorting through the lists of companies that stock ZQ, because Amazon and Google throw anyone that sells Merino wool in the mix. I find more information about the company’s than if they have anything I can buy and by the time I do there’s only an Xs or XXL left in inventory, which is understandable with the demand and limited producers. Anyway, I just want to find legitimate places to buy a ZQ wool cardigan or throw wrap etc. Thank you for your good work and for being part of this much-needed change in helping animals.