AUSTRALIAN Wool Innovation has listed traceability, consultation, measurement and evaluation as major priorities in its strategic plan for the next three years.
However, the not-for-profit company’s marketing spend in 2019-20 will be almost three times its sheep production budget and almost 10 times its allocation for traceability programs.
The new strategic plan’s budget for the next financial year lists the main expenditures as $46.8 million on marketing; $16.29 million on sheep productions, science and technology; $10.5 million for processing innovation and education extension; $5.4 million on traceability, and; $5.1 million on consultation, for a total spend of $95.3 million.
The 2019-20 budget includes a drawdown of $21.5 million from reserves, leaving closing reserves of $97.8 million.
AWI chief executive officer Stuart McCullough said the levy-funded research, development and marketing company had consulted widely with wool growers and their representatives in drafting the 2019-2022 plan to ensure industry views were incorporated.
AWI today announced the release of its new strategic plan with Mr McCullough claiming the plan had incorporated feedback and input provided by industry, gathered through AWI’s annual planning and consultation cycle, to ensure it reflected wool grower priorities for research, development and marketing.
“AWI has consulted widely with wool growers and their representatives to ensure industry views and priorities were incorporated into the final plan.
“As always, AWI’s overriding commitment is to support Australian wool growers and ensure they get the best price for their wool,” Mr McCullough said.
“But through the consultation process, we have been able to home in some priorities that wool growers believe will make a big difference to the industry over the next three years.
Mr McCullough said the first stage of the traceability journey is AWI’s WoolQ project which is designed to offer clean digital data straight from the farm.
However, WoolQ project chair Will Wilson was today unable to disclose how many wool producers or other industry stakeholders had registered on WoolQ, nor how much wool had been processed with the eSpeci or sold using the platform.
“WoolQ has been developed to digitise the supply chain from the sheep’s back through to the port of departure and in doing this promoting transparency, accountability and enhancing the provenance for the entire wool trade.
“To date hundreds of wool growers and wool business have registered for the eSpeci and a number of trial auctions have been held on WoolQ market to ensure that it meets all participant’s requirements – all of which were successful and identified some opportunities for streamlining the existing wool selling system,” Mr Wilson said.
Mr McCullough said research projects have also been conducted on fibre traceability and the ability to identify, in a garment form, where that fibre came from.
AWI had commenced a number of projects focussed on traceability during the past five years, he said.
“These projects are at a point of maturity, and we have enough of them where we can create an entire strategy around traceability.
“We recognise that generation Ys and generation Zs are going to be more interested in the source of materials in the future,” he said.
“They will want to know where something has come from, how it was treated, what the supply chain did with it and where it is going to at the end.
“We see this as a macro-consumer trend,” Mr McCullough said.
Mr McCullough said the Ernst & Young 2018 Review of Performance (ROP) was also instrumental in forming our new strategic plan,” Mr McCullough said.
Overall implementation progress of the ROP recommendations was progressing well and tracking at more than 70 percent, he said.
AWI has also reviewed the company’s consultation model and the strategic plan reflected the new arrangements, with the ICC being replaced by the Woolgrower Industry Consultation Panel (WICP) and Woolgrower Consultation Group (WCG).
“Effective, accountable and productive consultation is essential to the success of AWI’s new strategic plan to ensure we identify woolgrower priorities, and report on our activities,” Mr McCullough said.
“In reporting on the company’s activities, in consultation with the former ICC, we have developed a measurement and evaluation framework to provide measurable and quantifiable returns on wool grower and government funds.
“The implementation of this framework will enable AWI to sustainably measure and evaluate our programs, projects and investments,” he said.
“During the next strategic period, measurement and evaluation will be sustainably embedded into each of AWI’s business areas to effectively measure and evaluate activity and investment applying a transparent and consistent approach.
“We believe AWI’s strategic plan maps a way forward through to 2022 and strikes a balanced position, meeting the expectations of wool growers, our levy-payers, woolgrower representative groups and government.”
Mr McCullough said AWI remained cognisant of the ongoing impact of the drought and its influence on production levels.
“With reduced production, coupled with a 1.5 per wool levy, we have strategically targeted investments and managed a draw down on our reserves to enhance the profitability, international competitiveness to increase demand and market access for Australian wool.”
Click here to read the AWI 2019-22 strategic plan.