Thursday, April 25, 2024

Wool champions knit new alliance to boost fibre 

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Campaign for Wool and Wool Impact sign formal collaboration deal.
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Campaign for Wool New Zealand and Wool Impact are leading the charge to knit the strong wool industry together.   

The two organisations have signed a strategic alliance in what they say is a significant step forward for the NZ wool industry.

The formal strategic alliance established by Wool Impact and Campaign for Wool NZ (CFWNZ) aims to create efficiencies and strengthen collaboration between the two organisations, delivering better outcomes for wool growers.

The agreement signed by Wool Impact chair Stuart Heal and CFWNZ chair Ryan Cosgrove outlines how the two parties will work together to drive change in the strong wool sector. 

The signing heralds “an exciting, collaborative and well-considered pathway forward for NZ wool”, Cosgrove said.

“Both organisations have, for a long time, seen an opportunity to team up on a number of plans, projects and purposes.

“Formally outlining what those shared goals are, achieving alignment on those goals and limiting the possibility of duplication when working towards achieving outcomes is a huge step forward for the industry,” Cosgrove said.

The strategic alliance, to be implemented immediately, is the output of a steering group of board members and executives from CFWNZ and Wool Impact, established in 2023. 

“Although our two entities have been working together in an informal capacity for over a year, this strategic alliance is a significant step and one that will serve to further nurture relationships and create stronger synergies,” Heal said.

Six projects are initially defined as being in the scope of the strategic alliance. They involve joint communications and engagement to deliver collective and consistent messaging to partners and stakeholders; developing an evidence-based wool story to be used by partners in the promotion of NZ strong wool; and delivering resources and activities to support the increased use and specification of wool in architecture.

Collective input into the International Wool Textile Organisation (IWTO) working groups and events to elevate strong wool globally as well as facilitating events that support greater connectivity within the wool industry to achieve greater use of wool and shared learning, and collectively investigating the framework for a sustainable working body for the NZ wool sector, round out the identified projects.

For wool growers, who fund CFWNZ through a per-kilo voluntary contribution, as well as central government and sheep sector stakeholders falling under the Wool Impact funding umbrella, it means their investment goes further to drive meaningful change for everyone involved in growing, manufacturing, exporting and retailing wool. 

Representatives from each entity will report back to their respective boards on progress, with full board-to-board meetings held throughout each year. 

“For too long, our industry has worked in silos,” Cosgrove said. 

“By signing this agreement, we are committed to identifying and eliminating duplication, as well as ensuring sound operational models and cost efficiencies are in place to get our industry back on track.”

Heal said the strategic alliance signals a considerable shift in how NZ strong wool is promoted and the wool community is better supported, now and in years to come. 

“It’s great to be working together to unify the wool industry and build a better future for our NZ-grown super fibre.

“It’s exciting and we believe it shows real progress in bringing together our sector and delivering greater impact,” Heal said.

The Campaign for Wool is a global initiative focused on increasing the value of wool, from the end consumer all the way back to the farm gate.

Established in NZ in 2011, the campaign has a strategic focus on a number of projects that move the dial, including wool in education and developing a multi-channel campaign that significantly grows consumer, business and government awareness of wool as a super-fibre. 

As well as receiving contributions from wool growers, CFWNZ is funded by commercial partners.

Wool Impact is setting out to solve problems with wool and in doing so reinstate demand and value for NZ’s strong wool and wool growers, connecting value chains, innovation and research investment and advocacy groups.

Wool Impact is funded through the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures programme alongside sheep sector investors WoolWorks, Silver Fern Farms, Alliance Group, ANZCO, AFFCO and Progressive. 

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