INTERNATIONAL wool processing group Schneider will hold a world-first online conference in October to connect growers with consumers and brands.
The goal of the event is to provide wool growers with the latest market insights and solutions to meet the wool demand of the future and accelerate change through consensus.
Schneider Group managing director Giovanni Schneider said the group aimed to create a direct dialogue between the producer and the consumer to provide a clear signal of how the wool market will evolve in the coming years.
“The world of bargain shopping where each garment sold will be worn just a few times before ending up in the landfills will face big challenges as shopper’s mindset will hopefully change.
“Out of every crisis comes the opportunity to be reborn and this new normal is giving our industry a chance to reset a system which is no longer working, refocusing on its value chain and reshaping its ethics by which their customers will judge them,” he said.
The online wool grower ‘Wool Connect’ conference from 6-8 October will consist of two-hour sessions each day with speakers from retail, the wool supply chain as well as other organisations and service suppliers to the wool industry.
Mr Schneider said the main focus for every industry, including ours, will be decarbonisation and circularity.
“While the wool industry is very strong on the circularity as a wool garment is both recyclable and biodegradable, decarbonisation will become a critical aspect which might challenge our industry as much as animal welfare activism.
“While back in 2000 we represented 2.5 percent of all the textiles fibres today we are below 0.9pc,” he said.
“To reverse this trend we must learn to get together, as we are virtually doing now, and cooperate as each one of us, individually, is too small to drive any change.
“We must emerge as a sustainable, traceable, open and cooperative industry and solve issues like animal welfare, sustainability and decarbonisation,” Mr Schneider said.
“And we must be quick, efficient and deliver what customers are looking for before someone else does.
“If we fail to do so, we will remain a bunch of commodity producers, manufacturers and merchants and I refuse to accept that: we must be the change we wish to see in the world.”
First-hand insights into consumer trands will be presented by speaker representatives from the Ermenegildo Zegna Group, Hugo Boss, Kering, Zara, Salewa, Muji, Armedangels and others.
Conference is part of sustainability strategy
The Schneider Group said the Wool Connect Online Grower Conference is part its sustainability strategy ‘Together 2030’, which sets clear science-based targets to combat climate change.
In order to successfully implement the Together 2030 strategy, the Schneider Group has developed activities and projects in two areas: 1) industrial emissions reduction within all Schneider Group industrial plants and offices and 2) wool supply chain collaboration through the Authentico Integrity Scheme and beyond.
All wool growers and supply chain partners are invited to exchange knowledge and solutions to work together to fight against climate change and ensure a sustainable future for the wool industry, the group said.
Schneider Group chief sustainability officer Willy Gallia said it is hoped the conference can become a yearly event that growers can look up to in the future with more and improved content each time.
“We are hoping for a good attendance by Australian growers as well as most other producing countries.
“We believe it is the right time to start this direct communication channel to find consensus throughout the industry and to send a message of optimism towards the future of wool, in which we firmly believe.”
Mr Gallia said the group is also organising an art auction during the event to showcase some of the people who work amongst growers portraying their lives. The gallery will consist of 2-3 photographers/artists from each producer country.
Tickets and special group tickets to the online conference can be bought via the Schneider Group website. Included in the live conference ticket are also the recordings of each presentation. Even, if ticket holders are unable to attend one of the sessions live, they can always watch the recording afterward. Presentations will also be translated into Spanish for an on-demand view. Tickets can be purchased via the conference website: https://www.gschneider.com/conference