Wool because “throwaway culture is on its way out”

Wool has been under attack over the past decade thanks to “sustainability ratings” which are in vogue but are a very subjective way to assess a fibre.

[…] wool has seen itself and other natural fibres ranked below synthetic fibres such as polyester, acrylic, and nylon. It?s a counterintuitive outcome that leaves many (just one example) scratching heads.

One big reason for the low rankings is oversimplification ? ratings specialists want to come up with a single score, and in so doing make subjective weightings to environmental impact assessments such as land use and eutrophication.

[…] With the price of Merino at record highs, IWTO opened its annual Wool Round Table 7 December?in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, hub of the country?s wool and mohair industry.

Wool hovers at just over 1% of the world?s total fibre production, but the wool message remains strong: throwaway culture is on its way out, and with the weight of both science and common sense around it, the wool industry is primed with the facts that support its sustainability and integrity


The ratings that rank natural wool below synthetic fibres such as polyester, acrylic and nylon fail to consider and include microfibres (those invisible bits of plastic) in the data that leads to the rating scores. Just this month the government banned microbeads because of their negative effect on aquatic and marine environments. They are too small to retrieve or recycle, do not biodegrade, and marine life can?eat them. Despite this fact, artificial fibres are still getting a higher ranking than biodegradable wool!

This is one of the most pressing environmental problems the planet is currently facing, and it must be considered, said LCA expert Dr Beverley Henry. ?The environmental footprint score should include all significant impacts. Land use, biodiversity, microplastics […]



[…] Communicating the benefits of wool sheep may have its challenges: ?urban disconnect? requires educating consumers about the provenance of wool products and why this matters. The industry?s increasing transparency may prove helpful: presentations on wool declarations showed that wool growers are increasingly reporting on-farm practices such as mulesing. Through certification processes in both Australia and South Africa, this information is passed along through the supply chain, providing confidence to those choosing wool.


This is market-driven, with incentives for clearly emerging for Australian growers, where declarations are voluntary. The national declaration rate is up to 65% and in some states even higher.


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