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Beyond the Bale : Dec - Jan 08
Reporting to shareholders With the newly merged AWI came a new-look annual report, distributed to shareholders in mid-October. In conjunction with an accompanying magazine -- Wool Unlimited -- the report reflects AWI's evolution from a domestic research and development company into a leading international marketing and innovation company for Australian Merino wool. As well as presenting the financial statements for 2006-07, the report provides an account of AWI's activities and outcomes for the year, including a summary of the results of the company against its operating targets.The accompanying magazine includes AWI activities and themes from the year and showcases the future opportunities of Australian Merino wool.This editorially and photographically focused magazine shows the vision and focus of the new, post-merger AWI. New research phase for next generation wool One of the key programs of the newly established CRC for Sheep Industry Innovation, which will undertake new industry research to 2014, is Next Generation Wool Quality. The Next Generation Wool Quality program will target, through research, the major barriers to developing new markets for apparel wool: ensuring wool delivers good next-to-skin comfort, desirable feel and handle of the fleece, and competitive levels of whiteness and photo-stability. It will seek to deliver to the wool production and apparel textile industry practical low-cost tools, such as simple fabric measurement technologies, gene markers, and management advice for producing naturally whiter and more photo-stable wool fibres. According to the Sheep Industry CRC, these goals are in line with consumers' change in demand to lighter-weight, trans-seasonal, next-to-skin 'capable' apparel. It is about making wool a year-round fibre, instead of being autumn/winter dominant in a relatively small number of established northern hemisphere markets. Coming on board to provide the research for the project are the Australian Wool Testing Authority, CSIRO, the Department of Agriculture and Food,WA, and the South Australian Research and Development Institute. Research will extend beyond wool processing and textiles to explore how woolgrowers can help meet consumer demands through breeding selection and flock management. It is planned to provide Australian growers with simple selection tools to naturally improve the inherent whiteness and photo-stability of wool and improve knowledge of follicle and fibre science and its affect on wool characteristics. Next Generation Wool Quality program leader Dr Paul Swan says the program will work with supply-chain partners to establish specifications for wool fabrics and garments to ensure consistency and reduce the costly requirement to bleach or add fluorescent whitening agents. "The approach we are taking will reduce timelines and research risk so new technology can be adopted quickly after it is developed," he says. AWI is a commercial partner in the program contributing $3.5 million over seven years and providing access to its global network of business partners. More information: www.sheepcrc.org.au 3 AWI NEWS BEYOND THE BALE Unlimited potential of wool showcased to growers AWI's 'Wool Unlimited' forum, held immediately before the company's Annual General Meeting in Geelong on 14 November, gave more than 200 producers an insight into how woolgrower levies are being invested to build demand for Australian Merino wool and improve on-farm productivity. The program of events included interactive displays from AWI's on-farm por tfolio, focused on wool har vesting, mulesing alternatives, environmental sustainability, genetics and 'eco' wool, plus a showcase of AWI's apparel product development and international activities in retail, trade and fashion. A feature of the morning program was the oppor tunity for woolgrowers to hear from world-class, professional shearing and wool-handling exper ts on how to prepare their clip for maximum profit, as well as see a top Australian team perform a one-hour run. Andreina Longhi, director of Italian fashion and design communications agency Attila and Co., and New York-based sales agent Vince Mancini gave insight into how wool can win in the international market. Ms Longhi told the forum that Merino wool is "an experience" and, having visited a farm, as well as spoken with numerous people across the Merino wool supply chain, she has "a lot to tell" the major influencers in the Italian market. "Since we've been in Australia we've heard Australian Merino wool described as being all about sun, water and grass," Ms Longhi said. "I think those three words have helped us understand the real values of Merino wool, it's not just about the fabric, it's about where it comes from." Mr Mancini deals with the Nor th American market, representing wool-spinning industrial yarn mills from Italy and China, many of which specialise in Merino wool. He told the forum that the quality of Australian Merino wool and the environmental reputation of Australia mean that it has a huge marketing advantage. It is natural, biodegradable, and produced in a sustainable manner. "The major brands have moved on from the 'commodification' of product offerings of a few years ago, and are now looking for differentiation from their competitors," Mr Mancini said. "Wool's versatility means it can fill this demand. It lends itself to being used in different ways and at different price points which can help differentiate brands." More information: Additional copies of the annual repor t and Wool Unlimited are available from the AWI helpline, 1800 070 099; the repor t is also available electronically on the AWI website at http://digital.wool.com.au (Above left) Andreina Longhi, director of Italian communications agency Attila & Co., and New York-based sales agent Vince Mancini (above right) at the AGM forum in Geelong,Victoria. (Left) mulesing alternatives on display at the forum. PHOTOS: ROSS BIRD
Oct 07 - Nov 07
Feb - Mar 08 Supplement