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Beyond the Bale : June 2014
Getting on with business We are continuing with initiatives to help increase the demand for wool through investments in marketing and R&D -- from farm to fashion. Wild dogs: While the terrible impact of wild dogs has been felt across many wool-growing regions of Australia, there is evidence that when farmers and landholders come together in a coordinated way they have success at tackling the problem. This is not only important for the bottom line of woolgrowers' businesses, but also for the sense of relief and calm that it brings to local farming communities. AWI is keen to help groups develop long-term solutions. Funding is available to groups under AWI's 'Community Wild Dog Control Initiative' with applications open to new groups as well as those groups that have previously received funding from AWI. The next generation: AWI offers a range of professional and leadership development opportunities to young people in the wool- growing industry through initiatives including the National Merino Challenge, the Breeding Leadership program, the Young Farming Champions program, and scholarships through bodies such as Nuffield Australia. Our funding in these programs aims to help improve the engagement of young people interested in the wool industry, thereby developing and retaining the knowledge and skills the wool industry needs to be innovative in response to new challenges. The Royal visit: AWI and the wool industry has been very fortunate to receive the support offered by the Royal family over the past few years, most notably through the valuable patronage of The Prince of Wales to the global Campaign for Wool. In April we were delighted to see The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge make a special visit to the Sheep and Fleece Pavilion at this year's Sydney Royal Easter Show. The visit to view the wool exhibits supported by AWI generated enormous interest and media coverage across the world -- with coverage reaching a cumulative potential audience of 9.5 million in Australia alone. Campaign for Wool: Australian retailers came together for the Campaign for Wool's Wool Week which was held in May to coincide with the start of the Australian mid-winter retail season. It was pleasing to see so many store fronts promoting wool and the Woolmark brand. The Campaign for Wool continues to be a success internationally too. During 2013, the campaign was celebrated on an unprecedented scale across international consumer markets, generating global editorial coverage worth more than AU$40 million, up from AU$24 million in 2012. L'Uomo Vogue: The relationship between Australian woolgrowers and Italian fashion industry was strengthened in March when the Italian men's version of Vogue, L'Uomo Vogue, launched an edition dedicated to Australia. The launch was complemented by a visit to Australia by the iconic publication's editor-in-chief, Franca Sozzani, and her attendance at a series of events titled "World Wide Wool". AWI supported the initiative with the aim to increase awareness and appreciation of, and ultimately the demand for, Australian Merino wool. Apparel care campaign: AWI's research of consumer attitudes shows that while consumers value products that are easy care, many consumers still associate "wool" with "hard to care for". To help combat this, AWI is rolling out a new campaign to teach consumers that many wool products do not need to be dry cleaned or hand washed, and can be washed in a washing machine. By educating consumers that wool apparel is easy to care for, the campaign ultimately aims to increase consumer demand for wool apparel. Provenance of Australian wool: The provenance of Australian wool and the unique heritage we have with more than 200 years of growing the fibre is of increasing interest to industry partners and consumers. We have seen an escalation of interest on the part of leading brands in "the farm to fashion story" as a core ingredient in a high-value end product. There has also been an increasing willingness of leading brands and key media in partnering with AWI to describe to their consumers the benefits wool brings to their apparel products. A recent example of this is Country Road's successful Life Through Wool campaign that was created to help promote the brand's latest wool collection. International Wool Textile Organisation (IWTO): The environmental credentials of wool and the unique properties of wool that set it apart from other fibres in the marketplace were again at the forefront of discussions at this year's IWTO Congress held in April in Cape Town, South Africa. The content of many of the presentations at the Congress echoed this theme, and Australia and AWI in particular were well represented. Stuart McCullough Chief Executive Officer, Australian Wool Innovation 3 June 2014 BEYOND THE BALE UPFRONT