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Beyond the Bale : December 2014
34 ON FARM With the origin of wool under closer scrutiny than ever by buyers and retailers of Australian wool, woolgrowers are being urged to complete the National Wool Declaration (NWD). “Every day wool buyers are approaching wool brokers and AWEX to ask whether there is a NWD for clips they would like to purchase, because their clients are demanding it,” said Australian Wool Exchange (AWEX) CEO Mark Grave. “The NWD has become a key communication and information tool between woolgrowers and wool buyers.” The NWD is a voluntary declaration expanded in 2008 by the Australian wool industry – through AWEX – as a way for woolgrowers to help buyers and their clients gain access to credible information on mulesing status, and dark and medullated fibre risk, through the wool selling system. 43.3 per cent of Australian wool sold through auction was declared through the NWD in the 2013/14 financial year. The NWD creates transparency and choice in the marketplace for retailers and suppliers wanting to source particular types of wool. It was developed so woolgrowers can communicate directly with prospective buyers, processors, manufacturers and retailers about issues that can influence purchasing decisions but cannot be objectively measured. Mr Grave said AWEX is rejuvenating its ‘Declaring what the world’s demanding’ campaign to encourage more woolgrowers to complete the NWD. “The new campaign will focus on the level of buyer support for the NWD and, as the buyer is the customer, it is important to listen to what they say. The wool industry has been crying out for buyer feedback – well, here is a clear and definitive message. Wool buyers are asking woolgrowers to support the NWD and get involved.” AWEX has also reviewed the NWD to improve the layout and reduce its complexity. “We want the NWD to be relevant but also self-explanatory. Ultimately, to encourage woolgrowers to declare, the NWD must be user friendly,” Mr Grave added. The call for woolgrowers to complete the NWD is backed by former owner of the Sunny Valley Merino Stud in Western Australia, Neil Jackson, who recently travelled to London, Brussels and Washington as part of a regular AWI delegation that liaises with retailers in the region. “While mulesing and the activities of animal extremists have not been in the news as much as they used to be here in Australia, they are still an issue with retailers in the northern hemisphere,” Mr Jackson said. “The retailers that I spoke with would definitely like to see an increased use of the NWD by woolgrowers. They said they want to know where the wool they buy comes from and as much about the wool as possible. It’s absolutely vital. They want to tell a story about wool to their customers, and woolgrowers filling out the NWD will very much help them.” Mr Jackson said the purpose of the delegation was to provide the retailers with an update on the AWI R&D program and explain what AWI and the Australian wool industry is doing regarding flystrike prevention. “My role was to provide a woolgrowers’ perspective, and allay any concerns on the part of retailers,” he said. “The meetings went well and were well received.” DECLARING WHAT THE WORLD’S DEMANDING FAST FACTS • There is a growing level of interest from buyers of Australian wool, and their retail clients, in the National Wool Declaration (NWD). • AWEX is rejuvenating its ‘Declaring what the world’s demanding’ campaign to encourage more woolgrowers to complete the NWD. • AWEX has updated the NWD to improve its layout and reduce its complexity. MORE INFORMATION The new and improved NWD is available from the AWEX website www.awex.com.au or from wool brokers. NATIONAL WOOL DECLARATION Given the growing level of buyer interest in the National Wool Declaration, it is important that the Australian wool industry uses this as an opportunity to optimise interest and support for Australian wool.