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Australian Wool Innovation showcases industry advocacy

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) – the not-for-profit company owned by Australia’s woolgrowers – continues to showcase its industry advocacy efforts as the company positions Australian merino wool at the forefront of the global textile and fashion industry. Ahead of the 2019 Eco-Age Green Carpet Fashion Awards, AWI CEO Stuart McCullough said for more than a decade AWI has been a fierce advocate for the unique fibre produced by Australian woolgrowers, building confidence in the global supply chain, opening and providing access to new markets and empowering woolgrowers to take their fibre to the world.

Australian woolgrowers Richard and Jenny Weatherly (left) and Vanessa and Matt Dunbabin (right) accepted the inaugural Eco Stewardship Award on behalf of all Australian woolgrowers. The award was presented by Cate Blanchett (centre) at the 2018 Green Carpet Fashion Awards.
Australian woolgrowers Richard and Jenny Weatherly (left) and Vanessa and Matt Dunbabin (right) accepted the inaugural Eco Stewardship Award on behalf of all Australian woolgrowers. The award was presented by Cate Blanchett (centre) at the 2018 Green Carpet Fashion Awards.

Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) – the not-for-profit company owned by Australia’s woolgrowers – continues to showcase its industry advocacy efforts as the company positions Australian merino wool at the forefront of the global textile and fashion industry.

Ahead of the 2019 Eco-Age Green Carpet Fashion Awards, AWI CEO Stuart McCullough said for more than a decade AWI has been a fierce advocate for the unique fibre produced by Australian woolgrowers, building confidence in the global supply chain, opening and providing access to new markets and empowering woolgrowers to take their fibre to the world.

“Last year we saw Australian woolgrowers Matt and Vanessa Dunbabin from ‘Bangor’ at Dunalley in Tasmania, alongside Richard and Jenny Weatherly from ‘Connewarran’ at Mortlake in Victoria accept the Eco Stewardship Award at the 2018 Eco-Age Green Carpet Fashion Awards on behalf of Australia’s woolgrowers – a result that demonstrates AWI’s advocacy efforts in the international arena,” Mr McCullough said.

“AWI is an active member on the global fibre advocacy stage as a member of the recently formed Wool Industries Australia (WIA), whose mandate is to work collaboratively with relevant government departments and other industry sectors in the interests of the Australian wool industry.

“As an International Wool Textile Organisation (IWTO) member and with an AWI representative on its board, AWI is heavily invested in working with the global wool trade to represent the interests of Australian wool growers from farm to retail.

"AWI convenes the Wool Processors Consultative Committee (WPCC), an international committee that provides a forum for formal consultation with global manufacturers and buyers of wool textiles. Our establishment of WPCC provides a platform for AWI to advocate for the benefits of Australian wool and allows us to gain a greater understanding of the priorities of global manufacturers and buyers in an ever-changing retail environment.”

Mr McCullough added, “In Europe, well renowned industry advocate and AWI consultant Peter Ackroyd has been working closely with policy makers to ensure the supply chain for Australian woolgrowers is protected with the anticipated changes in the European Union. The continuity of the supply chain is paramount with the demand for Australian merino wool continuing to grow in the northern hemisphere.”

“The advocacy work of AWI and its board on the global textile stage has been proactive, collaborative and sustained for many years as we continue to work hard for our shareholders and levy payers, the woolgrowers of Australia, to increase demand and their long-term profitability.

“Australian merino wool is a unique natural fibre with key attributes that include biodegradability, breathability and sustainability that make it stand out on the world textile stage. This is a story AWI has been telling the world.

“AWI has made a significant contribution to the growing body of research on the life cycle assessment of wool with the research findings providing evidence of the eco credentials of Australian wool and its unique fibre attributes. The next generation of consumers have a growing awareness of the impact of their consumption on the environment and are demonstrating a purchase propensity for products that are natural, renewable and biodegradable. For this market, wool is the perfect choice.

“Wool provides the global apparel industry with the most renewable, recyclable and reusable fibre on the planet of the major apparel fibres which are the core pillars of AWI’s Campaign for Wool – a global endeavour that commenced in 2010 and was initiated by its patron, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales.”

On the domestic front, AWI has re-defined its consultation framework and its approach to engagement with its shareholders to ensure the company’s advocacy efforts at every stage of the supply chain continue to be representative of all Australian woolgrowers and continue to increase their long-term profitability and deliver tangible benefits.

“Early this year as part of AWI’s new three year strategic plan, we announced a new, enhanced industry consultation model to provide woolgrowers valuable input into the organisation’s priorities and give them an improved say in the future of the Australian merino wool industry with two consultation forums – a core AWI Woolgrower Industry Consultation Panel (WICP) and a broader group of the AWI Woolgrower Consultation Group (WCG),” Mr McCullough said.

“These forums are critical to AWI’s business and advocacy work enabling us to identify woolgrower priorities, and report on our activities while striking a balance to meet the expectations of woolgrowers, our levy-payers, woolgrower representative groups and government. This is ensuring AWI receives feedback from a wider range of regional and organisational perspectives.

“We believe our industry advocacy work, which takes place across the globe and the supply chain, is a contributing factor to the growth in the strength of the price Australian woolgrowers have achieved for their wool in recent years.”

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