CAN the green tag reinvigorate wool demand?
That’s the question circulating around the industry as vertically integrated wool marketing company, The Merino Company (TMC), becomes the first wool licensee of the highly respected EU Eco-label ‘Flower’ and offers it to its retail clients.
The environmentally conscience label first hit European retail shelves in 1992 and at the beginning of 2009 more than 750 companies world-wide had been awarded the label as marketing managers attempted to benefit from the shiny green dollars by helping consumers find more environmentally friendly products and services.
Growth spiraled 18 months ago when around 230 new companies were added to the green store catalogue.
To become a licensee the credentials are tough, but in one promotional week in Denmark licensee holders reported a 600 per cent lift in sales.
It is this consumer response that Stefan Bernerius, manager of TMC yarns, says is why the Eco-label is a significant marketing tool.
“We recognise the importance placed on high quality natural fibres that are environmentally friendly by our global retail, apparel and textile brand customers,” Mr Bernerius said.
“It has been a rigorous process and taken over two years to come to fruition but we have met the strict EU Eco-label environmental and performance criteria.”
To that end, TMC will source Superfine Merino through to crossbred wool from its pool participants that have met the strict sustainable farm practices.
These specific criteria include that farmers must only use approved biodegradable products on-farm and have all effluent run-off independently tested.
Mr Bernerius told Rural Press its accredited Australian EU Eco-label wool suppliers could meet growing client demand.
He says strict building codes and government contracts now require stringent ecological standards and the eco wool interior market was benefiting.
“Growth in this market has really gained momentum in the past three to five years,” he said.
Some of TMC’s customers who have bought EU Eco-label certified wool products include Sleepmaster, the well known Australian bedding specialist; Instyle, the leading Sydney interior textile designer and manufacturer known for their LIFE Textiles range; Geelong Textiles; Interweave, and Beijing Jingao.
TMC applies a three per cent premium to its EU Eco-label growers.