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Beyond the Bale : February 2010
4 SELLING MORE WOOL February 2010 BEYOND THE BALE A new AWI advisory body, the Wool Carbon Alliance (WCA), which comprises international and Australian wool industry representatives, is working to position wool as the 'planet-friendly fibre'. The WCA has been formed to advise AWI on research required to underpin a global marketing strategy promoting the positive benefits of wool. The WCA will work closely with woolgrowers, processors and retailers to ensure a win--win for both the wool industry and the environment. Wool is a natural carbon store, produced from a sustainable grassland system which itself has the capacity to store carbon. Consequently, wool production in Australia is one of the most natural carbon-capture systems on the planet. Wool is a very durable fibre, enabling wool garments to last for a long time. They therefore do not contribute to landfill as much as the highly disposable, fast fashion, synthetic-based clothing that, like the ubiquitous plastic shopping bag and water bottle, are extremely slow to degrade. While Australian producers have the opportunity to work with nature and generate income on-farm, the Australian wool industry also has the potential to work off-farm and assist wool processors, many of whom are in developing countries, to minimise their own environmental footprint. AWI CEO Brenda McGahan says the opportunity exists for wool to be marketed as the fibre of preference for consumers who are increasingly choosing natural products and want to make a contribution Wool, a naturally carbon-friendly fibre to addressing climate change. "Marketing can be geared towards encouraging people to reduce their carbon footprint by living with wool: insulating with wool, wearing wool, and walking, sleeping and sitting on wool," Ms McGahan says. "As highlighted by the Prince of Wales at the launch of 'The Wool Project' last month, wool is natural, sustainable and biodegradable, and thereby represents the essence of environmentally conscious consumption." Recognising Australia as the world's major wool producer and home of the Woolmark, AWI will take part in the Prince's 'Wool Project', to help re-engage retailers and brands with wool. The world- famous Woolmark logo will be a part of the campaign for both apparel and interior textiles. "This significant campaign fits in perfectly with AWI's marketing efforts, where we sell the benefits of wool as a natural fibre," Ms McGahan says. AWI recently commissioned market research that provides evidence of the growth of consumer interest in eco- friendly products. A survey of more than 22,000 consumers in 11 key global markets indicates there are significant consumer segments with a preference for natural products. A second survey of retailers in the US, the EU and Japan also showed strong growth prospects for environmentally friendly and natural products. Brands and retailers, particularly retailers of outdoor wear, are responding FAST FACTS l Wool is well positioned to respond to the growing trend among global consumers towards natural products. l The newly formed Wool Carbon Alliance will advise on research to ensure AWI can promote the positive roles wool can play in a future carbon economy. l The opportunity exists for natural Australian wool to be marketed to consumers as the planet-friendly fibre of choice. "Marketing can be geared towards encouraging people to reduce their carbon footprint by living with wool: insulating with wool, wearing wool, and walking, sleeping and sitting on wool." -- BRENDA MCGAHAN, AWI CEO to consumers' growing eco sentiment. But they are also looking for reassurance that wool apparel can substantiate the environmental claims. "Underpinning our marketing is a research strategy that includes a complete wool life-cycle analysis, from paddock through the wool pipeline to consumer, and a database of scientific evidence to support the marketing of wool's environmental credentials," Ms McGahan says. "This is a prime example of where R&D and marketing are now aligned and working hand in glove for a better future, not just for woolgrowers and regional Australia, but for the planet and its inhabitants.
September November 2009