An initiative between the global pioneer in provenance technology, Everledger, and the not-for-profit body for the Australian wool industry, Australian Wool Innovation (AWI), takes traceability from wool grower to garment using blockchain technoogy.
AWI and Everledger have pioneered a supply chain traceability proof-of-concept to capture and make visible secure information about wool provenance and its supply chain to create new sources of value for wool growers, manufacturers and retailers.
Supply Chain Traceability Proof-of-Concept
Everledger and AWI, which is also the parent organisation for The Woolmark Company, have now completed their proof-of-concept stage for a system that captures information along the wool supply chain. This information enables verifiable provenance and chain of custody, which opens up a number of benefits including verifiable claims of origin and sustainability, biosecurity, and other reporting efficiencies.
This kind of traceability also equips apparel brands to have a robust point of difference with their finished garments. Growers, in turn, may seen higher prices.
“What is clear from this proof-of-concept is that there is demand across the value chain and by stakeholders for the wool industry to deliver on traceability,” said John Roberts, the acting CEO of AWI.
“We look forward to advancing on the gains made here as well as the recommendations made in the recently published Trust in Australian Wool and Sheep Industry report by WoolProducers Australia for the benefit of Australian woolgrowers.”
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Secure information about wool provenance to create new sources of value
Merino sheep are celebrated globally for producing the world’s finest, softest and most beautiful wool. Australia produces around 90 per cent of the world’s fine apparel wool and this makes significant contributions to the Australian economy.
Wool fibre is natural, renewable and biodegradable. Many Australian woolgrowers are able to demonstrate that their farms can sequester carbon, increase biodiversity and strengthen climate resilience – but many of these important messages still need to be carried through too market, and need to be verifiable.
The proof-of-concept involved seven distinct supply chains tracing from wool growers, through brokers and export, to scouring, combing, spinning and dyeing, to weaving or knitting and the final product. It worked closely with all parties in those supply chains, as well as end-consumer brands, to understand the nature of business processes, the data available, and the types of claims different parties wished to make.
Key to the success was establishing a prototype tool that enables upstream or downstream supply chain participants to invite associated parties, helping to navigate supply chain opacity in a trustworthy manner.
The information supplied was grounded in blockchain, offering immutable records authored by each party to be stitched together to create a full picture. The solution enables retailers or end consumers to be able to verify where and when the original wool was produced, and key stages in its journey to market.
Traceability – no longer merely “nice to have”
“Traceability used to be considered a nice-to-have, now in multiple supply chains and across many material types, it is essential,”says Leanne Kemp, CEO of Everledger.
“Other industries, such as critical minerals and batteries, are now rapidly responding to regulatory requirements for transparency and accountability, such as those coming into effect through the European Union in 2023, or to resolve questions of Modern Slavery or greenhouse gas emissions.”
Learn More About Wool Traceabilty with IWTO
There are currently many traceaility systems for wool offered by IWTO’s members, offering coverage from the farm and beyond. Download our list of IWTO Traceability Systems and see our Traceability page for more information.
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