Some spinning and weaving mills continue to aim high in their quest to secure supplies of wool that meet the exacting demands of today’s market and end consumer.
Increasingly woollen mills are coming under pressure exerted by consumers about the standards of production and harvesting of the wool they purchase.
One company, Reda, has launched its latest campaign to lock in supplies of 1PP wool and is targeting wool that is “ethically and sustainably” produced.
Italian based Reda is owned by the Botto Poala family whose involvement in wool can be traced back to 1865.
Today’s current crop of family members continue to stick to the principles that have been part of the company’s success.
Family member, Fabrizio Botto Poala, is responsible for procuring the company’s wool supplies from Australia and New Zealand.
He makes four visits a year to Australia and New Zealand with the aim of finding “the best wool available” for the company.
“Our suppliers are very important,” he said.
“We need to work on those relationships if the suppliers are to understand our needs. It’s also important for us to understand the problems the suppliers face - it’s a must.”
He said he had been coming to Australia for more than 10 years to support producers of the high quality wool.
Mr Botto Poala said the need for security of supply was what led to the launch of the latest contracts to growers of 1PP wool (a select group of superfine wools).
The company wants supply for the future and the new contract was an incentive for growers to keep producing 1PP wool – the “Pinnacle”.
“We invite all growers who feel they have the raw material and the expertise to create one or more bales of the “best wool in the world” to enter this new three year contract,” he said.
The latest contracts follow a successful conclusion to the company’s first such offering in 2013 – The 150PP Project.
This program in Australia was launched to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the company.
It sought to secure 150 bales of 1PP wool over a three year period, a target achieved, but a little over the three year time frame.
We need to work on those relationships if the suppliers are to understand our needs and also for us to understand the problems the suppliers face -- it’s a must.
The 2018 version, 1PP Pinnacle, seeks to secure similar quantities of supply for a further three years.
A key part of the Reda company’s heritage is “excellence, strong relationships with all our employees and an attention to, and respect for, the environment”.
“The requirement for wool to be sustainably and ethically produced is coming from our final consumers,” he said.
“These demands have been coming for a number of years,” he said. This will become increasingly important and we must meet those demands.”
The 1PP Pinnacle program sought to give growers the confidence to grow the type of wool needed with a strong price incentive, he said.
The prices in the contract for 16.8 - 14.5u 1PP bales ranged from 20 - 45 per cent above current (March 2018) prices paid for spinner style wool of the equivalent micron selling at auction.
According to the company, it was keen to support the “very best wool producers”.
But in turn it asked growers to supported it by being accredited under the SustainaWOOL Integrity Scheme.
Reda’s sourcing company New England Wool Managing Director Andrew Blanch, said the new contract was about giving wool producers an incentive to produce this type of wool.
The 150PP program sourced wool from about 30 properties, some supplying one bale and others more than 10 bales.
Mr Blanch said the SustainaWOOL Integrity Scheme was critical to the success of the contract.
The scheme includes sustainability, traceability and animal welfare components.
He said these factors were a large part of the industry today and will be increasingly important in the future.
The 1PP Pinnacle program was launched this week and contract acceptance was open up to April 30, 2018. Physical delivery runs from May 1, 2018 until June 30, 2021.
Mr Blanch said wool submitted had to be awarded 1PP certification by the standing 1PP committee to be accepted into the contract.
The Reda 1PP Pinnacle contract asked growers to “make their best effort” to produce suitable bales without any penalties if the wool failed to be certified.
Growers sign a “pledge” with approximate figures on the number of bales to be delivered at any time during the three year period, micron and delivery month.