Wool is a natural, biodegradable fibre
and is both renewable and recyclable. It has an
inbuilt environment advantage because it is a natural
fibre grown without the extensive use of herbicides
However, in common with almost all other
manufacturing activities, wool processing has the
potential to cause environmental damage. The The
Woolmark Company, which represents wool growers
in Australia is committed to ensuring that wool's
transition from fleece to product in apparel and
interior textiles production is environmentally
Environment Technology Group
The Woolmark Company developed an environmental
technology unit at it's Development Centre in Ilkley,
United Kingdom, in 1986 and now spends more that
a quarter of its total research and development
budget on the environmental projects. The inter-disciplinary
team has a wide ranging work program, covering the
potential environment impact of all aspects of wool
processing. Various special finishes and processes
enhance wool's versatility bringing consumers a
wide colour range, machine washability, flame resistance
and increased light resistance. In providing these
performance enhancements, pollution from the manufacturing
processes must be eliminated or minimized for wool
to maintain its naturalness.
The Woolmark Company's environmental program has
made major strides in developing new techniques
that reduce the environmental impact of processing
wool. These advances include new processes for shrinkproofing,
mothproofing and dyeing. Other achievements are
the enforcement of bans on the use of toxic, non-biodegradable
pesticides in The Woolmark Company member countries
and the controlled use of biodegradable pesticides
1992, The Woolmark Company formalised its environmental
program by launching an Environmental Policy - a
far reaching document that commits the organisation
to work to reduce even further the environmental
impact of wool processing.
The Woolmark Company Environmental Policy - January
The Woolmark Company is concerned about the environment.
It uses its influence to increase industry-wide
appreciation of environmental issues, and works
to improve the environmental profile of the wool
and Woolmark products.
The Woolmark Company is committed
to working to reduce further the environmental impact
of wool products and processing. In particular,
The Woolmark Company focuses its activities to:
- Maintain an expert understanding of the science
of wool and its environmental potential, and monitor
significant local and international developments in
social and political attitudes towards the environment.
- Encourage high quality debate on the wool-related
environmental matters, and provide an authoritative
voice in programs of active communication, consultation
- Regularly review internal operations and Woolmark
specifications for environmental improvement opportunities.
- Give a high priority to environmental criteria in
research and development work, and strive to eliminate
any potential for damage arising from wool production,
processing and marketing.
- Establish guidelines for good environmental practice
at all stages of wool processing and marketing.
- Encourage wool production and processing operators,
and especially Woolmark licensees, to establish their
own environmental policies and action plans.