F4D’S UN AWARD
Stuart McCullough leads The Woolmark Company, which focuses on promoting the natural qualities of wool and continues to prioritize the creation of a more sustainable future at every level of the industry.
One of The Woolmark Company’s biggest assets is its community of growers, manufacturers, retailers and end consumers. It connects brands around the world directly with supply chain partners, and particularly the Australian growers with the world of high fashion. This two-way communication between the raw material and the end product allows for traceability across the entire supply chain and most importantly, respect for where wool comes from. After three years of development, WoolQ is a significant project The Woolmark Company launched earlier this year, that gives a face to the woolgrowers of Australia, enabling them to interact with industry information, data, selling choices and trading opportunities, thereby giving autonomy to these farmers and their businesses. Moving forward, this tool will offer the potential for total transparency for the entire wool industry.
Australian woolgrowers consider themselves custodians of the land, not owners, and are increasingly implementing sustainable practices that are working to reverse land degradation and increase biodiversity on their properties; practices that are actively encouraged and promoted by The Woolmark Company. A 5-year project has begun this year to capture and report on-farm stewardship by woolgrowers, assessing impacts on soil health, biodiversity, and threatened native species.
As the global authority on wool, The Woolmark Company sees an obligation to responsibly and openly communicate the facts of the industry, and continually learn and advance the eco-credentials of wool. The research arm of the company is dedicated to publishing, in peer-reviewed journals, scientifically defensible evidence for ways to communicate the fibre’s inherent properties, and to improve farming and manufacturing practices. Culminating seven years of research, a Lifecycle Assessment guideline on wool’s total footprint has been developed and will be published later this year. The company is also researching trends in the use of eco-friendly chemicals across 40 different wool processes, as well as creating a benchmarking tool that compares manufacturers in terms of their overall environmental footprint through aspects including water and energy use. This work will allow companies to understand their impact on the supply chain and identify improvement areas on an individual level, with cumulative improvements to the industry overall.
The Woolmark Company is committed to employing long-term thinking in its investment in innovation, which is why it nurtures talent through the Wool4School, Wool Performance Challenge and International Woolmark Prize programs, which all serve to educate and push young thinkers to engage with the natural design potential that wool offers.
As the Managing Director of The Woolmark Company, McCullough has identified these priorities in research, development and innovation to be not only useful for the growers, processors and designers of wool, but an invaluable tool with which to communicate to end consumers, empowering them with truthful, scientific information in order to make responsible purchases. This public engagement ensures a future for the wool industry, as more and more consumers are finding true value in the renewable, natural and biodegradable properties of wool.