Outcomes from the International Wool Textile Organisation Congress

Outcomes from the International Wool Textile Organisation Congress

September 04 2023

Scott Williams, chair of the Sheep Sustainability Framework Steering Group, was part of the China Australia Joint Working Group, which met at IWTO. Also present is Jo Hall and Steve Harrison, representatives on the Sheep Sustainability Framework Board.

The 92nd International Wool and Textiles Organisation (IWTO) Congress held in Kyoto, Japan, was the first time the event had been held in an extensive face-to-face format in four years.

Working group meetings preceded the Congress, providing an opportunity to receive updates and progress work to benefit the global wool supply chain. IWTO working groups include sustainable practices and wool sheep welfare. Members of the Sheep Sustainability Framework Board and Steering Group were active in both of these groups.  

During the Congress, several sessions provided an update on market intelligence, trends and innovations. The Congress heard from several Japanese manufacturers and brands on their processing and design innovations, including the increasing importance they place on supply chain transparency, sustainable production and the circular economy.

Market intelligence and a retail update provided assurance that more brands are considering including wool, or wool-blended products within their product range.

Much of the remainder of the Congress confirmed the need for supply chain transparency, and sustainability, to ensure that wool retains its place as the world’s premium sustainable fibre. Discussions in relation to claims of ‘regenerative agriculture’ and the risks of unsubstantiated claims potentially greenwashing agricultural products also featured in Congress sessions.

The 2024 Congress will be held in Adelaide, Australia from 15­–19 April. Having the event hosted locally will provide a great opportunity for exchanges to take place between Australian growers and other participants from across the wool supply chain. The Sheep Sustainability Framework will be a feature discussion item at the Congress.

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E: cnelson@mla.com.au