As companies and consumers worldwide strive to become healthier and more sustainable, research shows that the humble wool fibre has a clear role to play.

Just how that can happen will be the focus of two separate sessions at the upcoming IWTO Congress.

Wool for Planet

Traceability. Transparency. Regenerative farming and carbon sequestration. The contemporary woolgrower is very much at the forefront of the leading challenges of the day and has a pivotal place in the transition from the linear to the circular economy. The cultivation of land remains of vital importance to us all and is fundamental to the continued health of the planet.

The annual Congress of the International Wool Textile Organisation (IWTO) gives wool sustainability centre stage on Tuesday, 18 May with a panel of experts from farm to fashion:

  • Dave Maslen, The New Zealand Merino Company

In 2007, NZM created the ZQ on-farm standard to help people understand that their textile choices could reflect their beliefs. The ZQ standard includes animal welfare, environment planning and social responsibility. Dave is also now leading the recently launched ZQRX programme, a platform designed to encourage and quantify regenerative farming.

  • Michael Wessely, Sheep Inc

Michael is co-founder of Sheep Inc., the world’s first naturally, carbon-negative fashion brand. By using material science, technology, and a radically new supply chain approach, it aims to pave a new way forward for the fashion industry. Sheep Inc. recently won the Drapers award for “Best Supply Chain Initiative” and was runner-up as “Best Carbon Initiative”.

  • Edward Storey, WoolProducers Australia

Accountability is crucial for any industry and woolgrowers take their role as land custodians very seriously. Embracing the growing trend by consumers to know more about where products come from and their sustainability, WoolProducers has launched a campaign to build trust and awareness of wool.

  • Dr Stephen Wiedemann, IWTO LCA Technical Advisory Group

As the custodian of wool’s environmental credentials, the IWTO takes an active role in bringing the latest wool research to practical solutions for sustainability, such as the LCA methodology that forms the cornerstone of much environmental policy and planning. Through the Sustainable Practices Working Group and its LCA Technical Advisory Group, IWTO works to ensure a sustainable future for wool.

The Wool Sustainability Session takes place Tuesday, 18 May, 11.30-13.00 CEST. For more details and to register, visit

Wool for People

The wool fibre is made of keratin – the same as human hair. Like human hair it evolved over time to provide a unique set of functions: to keep wearers warm when weather is cold while allowing skin to breathe; to protect from UV rays; to resist odour.

At the IWTO Congress, Francesco Magri of The Woolmark Company will show how all of wool’s natural qualities can be brought together in ultimate performance gear. From the challenges of elite rock climbing to the extreme demands of professional sailing, developments in wool fibre technology bring out the best in the Merino wool fibre and in turn, the best in human performance. At the same time, using wool means making a natural, biodegradable, microplastic-free choice, thus reducing impact on the environment.

The Wool Health and Wellness Session takes place Thursday 20 May, 11:30-12:30 CEST. For more details and to register, visit

The IWTO and Its Congress

The International Wool Textile Organisation was established 90 years ago to elevate and maintain standards in the wool industry. Today the IWTO members represent 23 countries and all stages of the wool pipeline.

The annual IWTO Congress is a highlight of the global wool textile industry calendar. From what’s driving wool sustainability to the latest market intelligence, the IWTO Congress  features the leading wool topics of the day, with insights and analysis from industry professionals and experts.