Increasingly, brands, retailers and consumers want to know where the wool in their textiles comes from.

All major wool growing countries offer different traceability systems.

Approximately 80% of the fine Merino wool used for clothing textiles is sourced from Australia  and sold through the Australian Wool Exchange (AWEX).

Every wool bale offered on auction is tested to confirm the wool’s quality and characteristics. Testing is performed with a grab sample, a sample of the wool taken from the centre of the bale.

Wool is a natural fibre and each batch will vary largely in length, colour, fineness and content.

Wool Declarations

Most wool is sold with an IWTO Test Certificate. In Australia, the IWTO test certificate will report how that wool has been declared through Australia’s National Wool Declaration (NWD) programme.

South Africa has a similar system in place.

The NWD includes information provided by the woolgrower on various items, including the mulesing status of the sheep the wool came from. This information flows through the supply chain in a traceable manner, via the NWD and the test certificates:

Stipulating Origins

For each yarn order, the comber will select wool that meets the demands set by the spinner and the client. The comber’s wool buyer will source wool accordingly. It is likely that the raw wool will be sourced from different

farms and possibly even different countries, and blended in the spinning process to produce the order’s specifications.

If a buyer wishes to stipulate the wool’s origin, this must be confirmed with the comber and the spinner in advance, in order to track the many lots of wool in the particular blend.

Where Does My Wool Come From?

To answer this question, IWTO’s members have developed a number of traceability systems. Each system varies in scope, but all serve to make the global wool supply chain more transparent.

Use our list of IWTO Traceability Systems to find out more.