Strong support for Italian fabric maker’s wool contract

Sheep Central July 8, 2024

EXCLUSIVE Italian fabric maker Vitale Barberis Canonico has received strong support for its first ‘Traditional Wool to Italy’ contract for Australian growers of fine and superfine fine-crimped Merino fleece.

The contract was closed after two weeks with growers of 70s count and higher wool keen to commit all or a portion of their clip at values about 15 percent above the market.

Vitale Barberis Canonico said the contract was offered through its Australian arm VBC Wool to elevate production standards and support growers battling reduced market prices and increased costs, and challenging global textile and consumer markets.

Recognising the current adverse market sentiment, VBC said it is committed to strengthening its ties with wool growers.

This initiative underscores VBC’s dedication to those growers who continue to produce a stylish, traditional type of wool with the highest standard of preparation and classing, despite the market’s volatility, the company said.

The contract aims to provide financial incentives for these growers to encourage and acknowledge their efforts. The production of this stylish, traditional wool, correctly prepared and classed, is essential for VBC’s fabric production, VBC said.

The Traditional Wool to Italy contract is open to all Australian fine wool growers and is in addition to VBC’s long running Wool Excellence Club contract and award, which has been supporting dedicated Saxon Wool Club members for 10 years.

VBC said the contract also emphasizes VBC’s belief in the importance of traditional crimp and best practices in wool classing and preparation. By incentivising the production of traditional wool, VBC aims to ensure the ongoing availability and production of traditional wool, fostering both quality and profitability for growers, the fabric maker said.

Embracing the Australian Wool Sustainability Scheme

VBC said a significant aspect of the new contract is its support for the Australian Wool Exchange’s recently launched Australian Wool Sustainability Scheme.

With a focus on the Australian origin of wool, the AWSS is an industry-owned and independently managed scheme. This association with the world’s largest and highest quality wool market aligns perfectly with VBC’s commitment to quality and sustainability, VBC said.

VBC said the AWSS integrates comprehensive classing and preparation standards, ensuring quality and offering a better warranty for the final customer. VBC’s ethos of quality aligns perfectly with the AWSS, making it a natural choice for brands that prioritise excellence, the fabric maker said.

VBC said the AWSS is also less bureaucratic and easier to manage than other existing schemes across the production pipeline, from greasy wool to finished fabric, ensuring a smooth and efficient process. Third party auditing of the AWSS guaranteed the integrity and transparency of the scheme.

VBC strongly supports this independent external control, as it reinforces trust and accountability within the industry, the company said.

The Green Book initiative

VBC said along with the Italian wool industry and many other stalwarts were spearheading the development of a ‘Green Book’ as discussed at the recent IWTO Adelaide congress. This proposed standard will serve as a foundational guideline for all sustainability schemes, akin to the existing ‘Blue Book’ for commercial standards, the company said. The ambition is to have the Green Book ready by next year’s IWTO congress in France, setting a new benchmark for sustainability in the wool industry.

VBC said its unwavering support for the Australian wool industry is evident in its transparent purchasing practices. As the only mill in the world that openly uses the Australian name from the auction floor to the final product, VBC ensures that its sourcing processes are visible and trustworthy, the company said.

“This transparency reinforces VBC’s commitment to quality and sustainability, fostering stronger relationships with growers and customers alike.”


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  1. Philip Minge, July 9, 2024

    70’s count? What is it 1982?
    Not a chance of them using microns?

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