Understanding the Environmental Impact of Wool
August 5, 2016

A comprehensive new study, which provides much more information regarding the environmental impact of Australian wool than any previous study, was recently released. This is the first study to investigate greenhouse gas emissions in three different production regions with three different types of Merino sheep. The study, Resource Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Three Wool Production Regions of Australia by S.G. Wiedemann, M.J. Yan, B.K. Henry and C.M. Murphy, was published in the Journal of Cleaner Production and was made available online.

This study was undertaken in response to increased demand from garment manufacturers, retailers and general consumers for information regarding the environmental impact of fiber products. However, the authors emphasize that determining the environmental impact of wool production is much more complex than for man-made fibers because, compared to wool, the latter have relatively consistent and regulated systems for the raw material phase of the supply chain. The impact of wool on the environment, on the other hand, differs considerably from region to region because production intensity varies, the level of inputs differs, while the climate also differs from one region to the next.

The International Wool Textile Organization working groups have been compiling the scientific facts and now share the study. The American Sheep Industry Association is the U.S. representative to IWTO.

The full study is available at www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959652616001700. A fact sheet can be found on the IWTO site at www.iwto.org/uploaded/Fact_Sheets/IWTO_Factsheet_Wool_and_the_Environment.pdf.