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ADELAIDE – Australian Wool Exchange (AWEX) has launched a new integrity scheme for wool. The Australian Wool Sustainability Scheme (AWSS) was unveiled at the 93rd Congress of the International Wool Textile Organisation (IWTO) which opened this week in Adelaide, South Australia. Her Excellency the Honourable Frances Adamson AC, Governor of South Australia, delivered the welcome address.

Over 350 delegates from 23 countries are attending the congress. Following the welcome address, attendees heard opening remarks from IWTO president Klaus Steger, Wool Industries Australia (WIA) president David Michell, and Australian Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Murray Watt (via video message).

Katyana Armen, AWEX, described the AWSS as a new chapter for wool sustainability certification in Australia. “Credibly caring for the environment must include regenerative practices,” she said. “If it is truly sustainable, it must mean that it is regenerative.”

AWSS is a revamped scheme designed to set a new benchmark for sustainable wool production assurance. It is designed to strengthen Australia’s position as a global leader in sustainably and responsibly grown wool.

AWEX CEO Mark Grave said the AWSS independently verifies sustainability practices across the entire wool supply chain, from farm to fibre, to meet market expectations.

The scheme builds upon existing programmes and draws on industry best practices, offering a single accreditation that simplifies meeting market requirements. It aligns with key industry sustainability frameworks and incorporates on-farm practices informed by research and backed by government regulations.

AWSS replaces the former SustainaWOOL program and offers two accreditation options. ResponsiWOOL is for wool produced according to animal health and wellbeing practices for controlling flystrike, including breech modification with appropriate pain relief.

SustainaWOOL is wool produced according to animal health and wellbeing practices for controlling flystrike that does not include mulesing.

“The Australian Wool Sustainability Scheme will showcase the responsible stewardship of our natural resources, the health and wellbeing of our sheep, the care we provide for people and communities, and the vitality and resilience of our industry,” said Mr. Grave. “This programme critically addresses the needs of brands, providing credible verification of wool inputs, ensuring sustainability and quality, and offering a trusted traceability foundation.”

The new programme, with its updated standards and processes, will be implemented on July 1, 2024.

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