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We want people to have new 'take' - British Wool

12
Sep '09
Richard Poole, European Business Manager
A series of discussion items that address areas of the British Wool industry and some of the initiatives that the BWMB employs to meet changing issues in the market...

Why Origin is Everything...
British Wool launched its Origin is Everything Campaign in January 2009, reflecting the growing trends for natural fibres and an increasing interest in products of British lineage.

The campaign which focuses on the natural beginning of wool on the sheep also reflects the fact that British Wool is a product of British farmers and the many breeds of sheep that they run across the UK.

“We wanted to make a statement about the fibre but also about the heritage of the fibre.” Irfan Khan, promotions manager at the British Wool Marketing Board said.“ The economy has affected the way that people are thinking about things, there is a steady movement away from disposable products towards products that have a more durable lifespan, people want to be more environmentally responsible and wool fits within the profile that they have set themselves.

“We wanted people to have a new 'take' on wool and to see it as something current but more importantly to relate its story and value in a more dynamic way.” The other fundamental objective was to ensure that the message would stand up to scrutiny and so they embarked on a Life Cycle Analysis study with Leeds University which concluded this year. The study investigated the environmental impact of British Wool from the sheep in the field to the end of the scouring (cleaning of the fleece wool). This was a significant investment but one that they felt was vital.

Richard Poole, European Business Manager, who headed up the Life Cycle project explained, “We wanted to emphasise the green aspect of wool as a natural, sustainable resource but we also wanted to ensure that our core marketing messages were supported by scientific data. “The carpet manufacturing industry is now under increasing pressure to provide details to commercial buyers about the content of their product and any measurable impact it will have. We have had a lot of interest from manufacturers across the world about this.”

The results of the study will be shared in a controlled way with members of the BWMB's licensee scheme. Releasing it in a major way is not part of the BWMB's plan, despite the good results that were shown from the research. This is partly because the Life Cycle Analysis is only valid within products that are made from 100% British Wool and other fibres would not be covered – unless by their own LCA.

But Poole is keen to stress that whilst the fibre measured up well against alternative fibres, their mission was never to position themselves against others, “Comparison is a necessary part of the process but it is not what this LCA was about. This is simply information that can help manufacturers, it is about our fibre and the information is a focus for that alone.”


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