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NZM, wool brands launch 100% regenerative wool platform

17 Feb '21
3 min read
Pic: New Zealand Merino Company (NZM)
Pic: New Zealand Merino Company (NZM)

To tackle the global fashion industry’s impact on environment, the New Zealand Merino Company (NZM) and global Merino wool apparel and footwear brands Allbirds, icebreaker and Smartwool announced recently that they are working with 167 sheep growers to create the world’s first regenerative wool platform that represents 2.4 million acres in New Zealand.

The fashion industry is responsible for 10 per cent of annual greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.

“We are on a journey of continuous improvement that recognises and celebrates progress over perfection. Through our industry-leading carbon footprint work with our leading brand partners, and with support from the Ministry for Primary Industries, we know on-farm emissions represent approximately 60 per cent of the emissions associated with woollen products and are our biggest opportunity to lower our impacts,” said NZM chief executive officer John Brakenridge.

“ZQRX is an important and necessary evolution of our ethical wool program, ZQ. Through the adoption of regenerative practices that both store more carbon and emit less, we could reduce our on-farm emissions down to zero,” he was quoted as saying by New Zealand media reports.

Building on the success of NZM’s ethical wool platform, ZQ, ZQRX is the next evolution of doing what is right for both people and the planet. Climate change and greenhouse gas emissions are addressed within the ZQRX framework, with regenerative farming practices representing a considerable opportunity to sequester (store) carbon, and slow climate change.

The ZQRX index includes the foundational tenants of ZQ such as animal welfare and social responsibility, as well as an increased focus on environmental issues that directly reduce carbon emission and improve biodiversity, like waste, water quality and soil health.

The ZQRX index is currently being applied to 167 farms in New Zealand, representing over two million acres of land and resulting in carbon being retained and stored in soil, and in vegetation, with many additional animal welfare and social responsibility benefits also being seen.

To generate a movement of this scale, the Merino wool industry’s most iconic brands Allbirds, icebreaker, and Smartwool have set aside their competitive nature and are working collectively to support the ZQRX platform and address the immediate challenges of climate change.

Known for their trailblazing approach to sustainability, icebreaker and Smartwool helped found the original ZQ platform 13 years ago, while Allbirds, who also source ZQ ethical wool, will be the first fashion brand to label every item produced with its carbon footprint.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)

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