Former Australian Wool Innovation research chief, Paul Swan, has been appointed program manager of SustainaWOOL, the world's largest wool integrity scheme.
His appointment follows hot on the heels of the transfer of ownership of SustainaWOOL to the Australian Wool Exchange Ltd (AWEX).
SustainaWOOL was launched in 2015 by New England Wool Pty Ltd and its Italian shareholders, Successori Reda and Vitale Barberis Canonico, to source high-quality, sustainably-produced wool from Australian superfine growers.
It has has been a runaway success with 950 farms now accredited to the scheme.
With the transfer of total ownership to AWEX, an independent company which, among other things, oversees Australian wool auctions and woolclasser registrations, all growers will now have the chance to participate in the scheme.
AWEX Ltd CEO, Mark Grave, said Dr Swan had a passion for sustainable production systems and was highly respected in the global wool industry.
He said AWEX had received overwhelming encouragement and support from the wider wool community to provide the Australian industry with a single, rigorously audited sustainability scheme that was independently owned and operated.
"As an independent industry owned and operated program, AWEX now has the opportunity to make SustainaWOOL available to all wool users," he said.
"Globally, customers of wool are demanding evidence of sustainability through independent and credible integrity programs.
"The textile market is very competitive and we are aware of the importance of getting this transition right and providing a scheme that caters for the needs of the market now and into the future.
"AWEX programs such as the code of practice for wool preparation and the National Wool Declaration integrity program are recognised and respected globally.
"SustainaWOOL is an extension of these and we are excited and proud to take this on," Mr Grave said.
"The SustainaWOOL integrity scheme provides wool producers the opportunity to showcase the efforts that allow them to produce a quality and sustainable product from their valued stock," Andrew Blanch, managing director of New England Wool, said.
"We want to share the opportunities in the scheme with all wool producers and users around the world to help us work and grow together in an increasingly competitive and sustainability conscious landscape."
Francesco Botto Poala, chief operating officer of Successori Reda, said AWEX was the natural organisation to take charge of SustainaWOOL.
"We are very proud that we can provide the wool industry with this gift," he said.
Alessandro Barberis Canonico, CEO of Vitale Barberis Canonico, said four years of hard work had built SustainaWOOL into an independent and powerful system that was bringing added value not only to the Australian wool industry but the whole supply chain.
"SustainaWOOL is indeed one of the strongest support structures for the modern green world," he said.
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