International Wool Textile Organisation Opens Congress in Kyoto

The 92nd annual Congress of the International Wool Textile Organisation opened 16 May in Kyoto, Japan. After a two-year wait due to covid, 250 members of the wool industry are participating in this event.

The IWTO represents the global wool textile industry and delegates represent 25 countries across all 5 continents. No other fibre type has an organisation which represents its interest on the global level the way IWTO represents wool.

Uniting the industry in the interest of the sustainable trade of wool and wool products, the IWTO brings together all stages of the global wool pipeline, from farm to retail. The 92nd Congress is hosted by the Japanese Wool Industry Association.

Kazuya Tomita, President of the Japan Wool Industry Association, warmly welcomed delegates to the event.

“We must leverage wool’s tradition and add new functionalities to meet the demands of the present,” Mr Tomita said.

IWTO’s President, Wolf Edmayr, said that “growing is the hardest part” of the wool supply chain.

“We need to ensure that the growers around the world get a fair and sustainable price for their product,” Mr Edmayr said.

Quick Facts about Wool in Japan

  • Bishu, one of the world’s three major woolen fabric production area, has a traditional wool recycling technology, named “Keshichi.”
  • Wool recycling is firmly rooted in Japanese culture (where, due to space constraints, sheep farming is limited, wool has had to be mostly imported).
  • Japan’s overseas apparel markets are expected to be 2.3 trillion USD by 2025.
  • The Japanese industry excels in technologies that increase functionality or improve performance of fibres.
  • Japan is rapidly moving forward into even better recycling and eco-design, tackling greenwashing and creating new business models as technology surges onward.
  • Japan represents one of the top markets for wool products, with a potential luxury market size of 80 million consumers.
  • Because of Japanese unique technologies and innovations, designers are fascinated and attracted with Japanese products.

The Congress covers topics of interest to the industry up and down the pipeline. Speakers on wool sustainability, wool in carpets and futons, wool market intelligence, wool for health and wellness, and innovations like wool denim feature across the three-day event.

Learn More About Wool: All You Need to Know on our Wool Resources page.