Wool schemes united

Australian and South African integrity schemes have joined forces to offer more efficient and robust systems.
Camera IconAustralian and South African integrity schemes have joined forces to offer more efficient and robust systems. Credit: Bob Garnant/Countryman, Bob Garnant

An Australian integrity wool scheme has joined forces with a South African-based organisation with similar goals to ensure greater integrity and traceability of sustainably certified trade throughout the wool value chain.

The SustainaWOOL Integrity Scheme, operated by the Australian Wool Exchange on behalf of the Australian wool industry, and the Sustainable Cape Wools Standard, operated by South Africa-based Cape Wools, on behalf of the South African wool industry, are now co-operating together to create more efficient and robust systems.

AWEX and Cape Wools SA are now co-operating to certify non-mulesed Merino wool originating from SustainaWOOL Green and Gold growers and South African growers is compliant with the Sustainable Cape Wools Standard.

The AWEX and Cape Wools SA schemes are the respective national schemes and share many similarities, providing wool growers in both countries the opportunity to be recognised for achievement of sustainable wool production practices.

SustainaWOOL program manager Paul Swan said this collaboration wouldl streamline certification for downstream supply chain partners and benefit participating wool growers in both countries.

“It would eliminate the need to separately verify the certified sustainable content of Australian and South African wool in the same processing lot,” he said.

“Globally, sustainability and traceability are increasingly important issues, as consumers become more socially and environmentally aware.

“This is reflecting in increased demand for traceability and sustainability certification across the global wool textile industry, with a growing number of national and international schemes in the marketplace.”

Dr Swan said by having mutual recognition between SustainaWOOL Green and Gold and the SCWS, the schemes would be creating a more efficient and cost-effective certification for their mutual processing partners, paving the way for joint certification between the standards.

“It is important to note that the two standards will maintain their independence,” he said.

“However, we are confident that this will be the first of many collaborative opportunities to create more efficient and robust systems for our industry partners and increase the availability and access to sustainably sourced wool.”

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