‘Open to listen and ready to change.’
This is how Reda chief operating officer Francesco Botto Poala describes both his company, and the Australian wool growers who supply it. And they all have one thing in common – Sustainawool accreditation.
Sustainawool is an integrity scheme promoting animal welfare, animal health, traceability, environmental care, social responsibility and wool quality.
"Our customers are looking for traceability, sustainability, all the things that we are able with Sustainawool to prove to our customers – and Sustainawool is the only system in Australia that can prove that," Botto Poala said.
New England Wool's Andrew Blanch is the wool buyer behind Sustainawool, which began in March 2015 and now has 695 accredited farms across the country.
Sustainawool is used by Italian wool mills Reda and Vitale Barberis Canonico, and Blanch said while others were interested in being involved, he was focused on protecting the Sustainawool brand.
"On one hand it is a marketing tool for just Reda and VBC, but there isn't a big downside of thinking the whole of Australia could have something that works like that anyway, because at the end it makes Australia more attractive to wool buyers," he said. "It is exciting to think we could roll it out to something more people could use." The Reda Future Program, which offered forward contracts to fine-wool growers out to five years, and in turn Sustainawool, were ways of encouraging quality wool production, Blanch said.
Reda, in Australia lately to meet growers, has a line called Reda Active, which uses only non-mulesed wool and now makes up 15% of the brand.
The latest Australian Wool Exchange data shows premiums for non-mulesed wool were up to 30c/kg for wool 21 microns or finer for the 2016-17 season.
Blanch said the premiums were more prominent in the auction room than the figures showed.