AUSTRALIA’S wool industry has gained its first independent industry-owned sustainability program for Merino and crossbred producers with the gifting of the respected SustainaWOOL Integrity Scheme to the Australian Wool Exchange.
AWEX announced today that New England Wool Pty Ltd and Italian fabric makers Successori Reda and Vitale Barberis Canonico have transferred ownership of the SustainaWOOL TM Integrity Scheme to the Australian Wool Exchange.
AWEX chief executive officer Mark Grave said NEW and the Italian manufacturers have gifted the program to AWEX “and I think it is a great gesture.”
The SustainaWOOL Integrity Scheme was launched in 2015 in response to demand from consumers and retailers. Since its inception, more than 950 farms producing mainly superfine Merino wool have been accredited, making it the largest sustainability scheme in the wool industry worldwide. It has become a strong foundation for Australia’s superfine wool producers to promote their product to the world and gain access to premium markets.
Although all Australian wool producers have been able to declare the animal welfare status of their wool via AWEX’s National Wool Declaration, the SustainaWOOL Integrity Scheme also enables the verification of animal and farm management and welfare practices of signatories.
AWEX said in a landmark decision to expand the scheme to all professional wool producers in Australia, the owners, developers and managers of the SustainaWOOL Integrity Scheme signed a Memorandum of Understanding in May 2019 to relinquish 100 percent ownership of the scheme to the fully independent industry body, the Australian Wool Exchange.
AWEX said it has received overwhelming encouragement and support from the wider wool community to provide the Australian wool industry with a single, rigorously-audited sustainability scheme that is independently owned and operated. Globally, customers of wool are demanding evidence of sustainability and animal welfare through independent and credible integrity programs.
AWEX chief executive officer Mark Grave said it was unanimously agreed at a special board meeting late last week to complete the transfer of SustainaWOOL in time for the start of the 2019/20 wool selling season.
“Thanks to its new home with the independent industry body, the scheme will be able to develop and grow, allowing wool from accredited farms to be made available to all users worldwide,” he said.
“As an independent industry owned and operated program, AWEX now has the opportunity to make SustainaWOOL available to all wool users.”
Successori Reda’s chief operating officer Francesco Botto Poala said “AWEX was the natural answer to our project and the Australian wool producers deserve it.
“We are very proud that we can provide the wool industry with this gift.”
New England Wool managing director Andrew Blanch said the SustainaWOOLTM Integrity Scheme provides wool producers the opportunity to showcase the efforts that allow them to produce a quality and sustainable product from their valued stock.”
“We want to share the opportunities in the scheme with all wool producers and users around the world to help us work and grow together in an increasingly competitive and sustainability conscious landscape.”
Vitale Barberis Canonico CEO Alessandro Barberis Canonico said the company had been working hard for four years in order to build the most important integrity scheme in the world.
“It is an independent powerful system that brings added value, not only to the Australian wool industry, but the whole supply chain.
SustainaWOOL is indeed one of the strongest support structures for the modern green world.”
Mr Grave said the textile market is very competitive and AWEX was are aware of the importance of getting the transition right and providing a scheme that caters for the needs of the market now, and into the future.
“AWEX programs such as the Code of Practice for Wool Preparation and the National Wool Declaration Integrity Program are recognised and respected globally.
“SustainaWOOL is an extension of these and we are excited and proud to take this on,” he said.