Cavalier Woolscourers chief executive Nigel Hales said they wanted Stansborough’s special coloured lambs and fleece wool to be the first they scoured under the standard.
Based in Wairarapa, Cheryl and Barry Eldridge produce under the Stansborough label. From a flock of Gotland sheep, they grow incredibly soft fibre and then weave it themselves into rugs, blankets, and scarves.
They made the woollen cloth for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies, and now also sell products through Warner Brothers stores.
“Cheryl uses mid micron crossbreed sheep and achieves the most fantastic feel through her products – that is what is so special about them,” Hales said.
Cavalier Woolscourers, which has scours in Napier and Timaru, has been working towards meeting the Environmental Choice standard for almost two years.
Hales said this new woolscouring standard was considered world leading. Although they already had several international environmental certifications, this was by far the most robust and wide-ranging.
The Environmental Choice standard was developed by the New Zealand Ecolabelling Trust, and encompasses a wide range of activity in the scour and on the fibre itself: Effluent, energy use, detergent type, how clean the fibre is, recycling and continuous improvement.
Other environmental standards have only previously looked at effluent and detergent types.
Hales said the company could now offer a greener, better woolscouring job than their competitors, and prove it because they measure the improvements they make.
“For example all our records have to be submitted for energy use and wastes and we have to improve our performance under this standard every year.”
He said the company had to ensure it was performing better than Chinese woolscourers. “Had we not been as innovative as we have we would be speaking Mandarin at the moment.”