Westcoast Wool and Livestock first in WA to get Responsible Wool Standard global certification

Email Shannon Verhagen
Westcoast Wool & Livestock wool manager Brad Faithfull and SustainaWOOL and Responsible Wool Standard coordinator Justin Haydock.
Camera IconWestcoast Wool & Livestock wool manager Brad Faithfull and SustainaWOOL and Responsible Wool Standard coordinator Justin Haydock.

A Great Southern and Perth-based wool brokering company is the first in WA to invest in a global certification recognising best practice animal welfare, land management and social welfare.

It is anticipated to open new export markets for local growers and provide an opportunity to fetch above-auction prices for their clip.

Westcoast Wool and Livestock last week announced it had invested in certification to the independent, consumer-driven and voluntary Responsible Wool Standard and partnered with Australian Wool Exchange to promote the industry’s SustainaWOOL Integrity Scheme.

It comes off the back of increasing demand from consumers, with the Responsible Wool Standard — which is managed by global non-profit Textile Exchange — focused on welfare standards and SustainaWOOL on sustainability and traceability.

Westcoast Wool and Livestock Responsible Wool Standard and SustainaWOOL coordinator Justin Haydock said the programs were about acknowledging farmers “doing the right thing” and had already opened up additional market options.

“As a broker, we understand we have a responsibility to offer growers the best possible avenues to market — that is why we are leading the industry and promoting the programs in WA,” he said.

“We have previously had exclusive relationships with processing partners, but under the Responsible Wool Standard, we can sell wool through to any exporter, mill or buyer in the world.

“We are currently working closely with five to six different companies, from exporters through to processors, each looking at the next Responsible Wool Standard clips we will have available and their ‘specs.’”

Mr Haydock conducts on-farm audits for RWS-certified wools, with the company — which caters to growers from the Wheatbelt to the Great Southern — promoting them up to a month before test results are available, then offering them direct or at auction.

Growers register and complete their own farm audits for sheep under the SustainaWOOL scheme — either non-mulesed or mulesed with pain relief — with AWEX conducting random audits of 20 per cent of the scheme’s members.

After a COVID-19 driven slump last year, wool prices have bounced back to pre-pandemic levels as retail confidence grows in the Northern Hemisphere, with the Eastern Market Indicator sitting at about 1420¢/kg.

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