September 7, 2007
September 7, 2007 - As the worldwide appetite for all things organic continues to surge, so too does the demand from leading retailers around the globe for organic wool.
According to Elders Wool, large retail organizations are now seeking out commercial quantities of organic wool as they develop their lines of organic clothing and homewares.
"Consumers around the world are not only demanding organically-grown foodstuffs and health products - they also want to be clothed in fabrics that have been derived from organic production systems," Michael Blake, Elders wool marketing manager, said.
In response to the growing demand for organic and 'eco' wools (these are very low in chemicals and comply with European Union standards), Elders has established a feature sale program to attract quantity to the auction room, allowing buyers to source the critical mass required to attract and fill orders. The question about demand will be tested next week when Elders' features its next organic wool sale in Melbourne.
According to Bob Padula, wool consultant with the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI), each country has its own organic standards and requirements. Here in the United States, organic livestock production starts from the ground up.
In order for wool to be certified as organic in the United States, it must be produced in accordance with federal standards for organic livestock production, which include:
- livestock feed and forage used from the last third of gestation forward must be organic;
- use of synthetic hormones, vaccinations and genetic engineering is prohibited;
- use of synthetic pesticides (internal, external and on pastures) is prohibited; and
- producers must encourage livestock health through good cultural and management practices.
Only by following these practices and having it verified by a third party certification agency can U.S. produced fiber be labeled organic.
"It may be true that producers can receive a premium for organic wool, however, some productions systems may be unable to adhere to the more restrictive management practices required for a clip to be labeled organic," commented Rita Kourlis Samuelson, ASI wool marketing director. "If producers can make it work, it is a win-win situation." Reprinted in part from Exotextile News, UK