In 2005, as part of the journey to environmentally preferable product, we addressed the issue of methane emissions by sheep. We searched for wool that was environmentally preferable and found Leanwool®. Using internationally acceptable methodology and standard lifecycle analysis, it is estimated that the CO2 equivalents attributed to every kilogram of Leanwool® produced is 22kg, compared to 62kg for every kilogram of generic wool.
Each batch of our Leanwool® meets the EU Ecolabel Standard for greasy wool and the batch number is traceable through to finished fabric. This facilitates random audits by GECA but also enables us to assess how each batch of wool has performed during each stage of production to finished fabrics. This information can then be supplied back to the farmer to enable them to continue to improve their wool for our specific end use .
We source our low pesticide Leanwool® through the LEAP scheme from selected farms practising eco-farming methods and tightly specify it to our standards. Eco-farming methods include practices such as no mulesing and rotational or cell grazing to ensure the land is not degraded by the sheep’s cloven hoofs and low or no use of pesticides or other chemicals. The interest of farms participating in the LEAP scheme in following their wool through to final product and working to improve supply is a highlight of our sustainability program.
The innovative LEAP scheme has created a niche market for this wool and is driving environmental change at the farm level and has grown from 4 to over 160 farms. If the wool fails to pass the low pesticide test, the farm is dropped from the scheme until it can consistently demonstrate that its wool will meet the LEAP criteria. Farms participating in this eco wool-buying scheme bypass the uncertainty of the wool auction system and receive a guaranteed premium over market price for their wool.
Bill Jones inspects the fibre July 2006
Farms interested in being considered for the scheme are invited to register their interest here.
click here to view our fabrics containing Leanwool®