The NWGA code of conduct for the production of SA wool, which is in the process of formulation, drew praise from key role players in the wool industry at the annual NWGA national congress.
The new code of conduct would amount to a national industry strategy which meets international quality standards (for the green, clean and ethical production of wool) to compete competently in the international marketplace.
“I think it is a fantastic initiative,” said Mark Suttie, marketing manager of The Merino Company based in Australia. He explained that market demands showed that consumers want eco-labelled wool and that the NWGA’s response showed that they were reacting to customers’ demands.
“What’s very exciting about the code of conduct is that growers are taking the initiative,” he said. He explained that growers were, through the formulation of this code of conduct, contributing to the differentiation of their product through a value-adding process.
Jo Dawson, CEO of international wool suppliers H Dawson, and executive member of the International Wool Textile Organisation (IWTO), in turn said that the specifications and requirements being set by the code of conduct will mean that growers and the industry will be at an advantage specifically in terms of marketing. He alluded to the importance of exclusivity as a tool in market protection.
According to Woolworths’s spokesperson Hugo Lemon, the code of conduct will set an internal benchmark for the production of wool on a good practice level to compete with other industries.
Petrus de Wet, president of the NWGA, however, reminded all concerned that BKB and CMW already had standards and that the three sets of standards should be married to ensure that “one message goes out from SA and only one message”.