The launch of a traceable wool scheme that traces the origin of wool from the farm gate to the shop floor has been welcomed as an exciting development in the wool industry by ‘Made with Wool’, one of Menter Môn’s projects.
The traceability scheme was launched by British Wool and the Made with Wool team is very pleased to see this development. Made with wool is a project that endeavours to realize the potential of Welsh wool. Some of the project’s outputs include piloting innovative high value products made using Welsh wool, offering free wool testing for farmers and encouraging collaboration of stakeholders across the sector. The project conducts scoping studies that invite people to contact them if they face particular barriers within the industry or if they would like feasibility studies to be carried out. One of the barriers long identified within the sector was that most Welsh wool is processed and sold along with wool from all parts of the United Kingdom and therefore loses its Welsh identity.
To solve this, British Wool launched a wool traceability scheme in 2021 that introduces transparency to the supply chain and enables customers to identify the provenance of their wool while offering a higher price to the farmers that sell their wool through the scheme. Gareth Jones, Head of Producer Marketing at British Wool, said, ‘This scheme was launched in response to our customers’ needs and their desire to be able to trace the wool back to the breed of sheep or specific area.’ During the first year of the scheme, over 500,000 kilos of traced wool was sold, equivalent to 250,000 sheep and British Wool will continue to expand the scheme.
According to Angharad Gwyn, Made with Wool Senior Project Officer, ‘One of the biggest obstacles identified during the development phase of the Made with Wool project was the ability to trace Welsh wool back to its origin after collection, therefore the launch of British Wool’s traceability scheme is a hugely exciting and valuable development for the whole sector and a major step in raising the value and identity of Welsh wool. We are also delighted to be able to work in partnership with British Wool to bring stakeholders within the sector together and work to realize our shared vision for the future of Welsh wool.’
Gareth Jones, discussing British Wool’s partnership with the Gwnaed â Gwlân project, added, ‘British Wool considers Made with Wool an important project and is proud to be a partner, the work in developing the project by various stakeholders shows that there is enthusiasm in Wales for developing the wool sector and bringing stakeholders together which is the project’s main aim.’
Made with Wool will be working in partnership with British Wool and the Wool Testing Authority to offer free wool testing to farmers in Wales, this will enable them to gain an understanding of the quality of their wool and whether it can be improved in the hope of raising the status of Welsh wool as a valuable commodity rather than a by-product. The project also continues to collect ideas on the barriers within the sector in order to undertake scoping and feasibility studies that address issues and support the sector.
Gwnaed â Gwlân is funded by the Welsh Government’s Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).
Image:: ‘Made with Wool’ logo, Menter Môn
Image:: ‘Welsh Wool’ logo from British Wool’s tracing scheme
Image: Elen Parry – Made with wool Project Manager with Gareth Jones – Head of Producer Marketing, British Wool, at the British Wool depot in Newtown
Information for Editors
- Menter Môn is a social enterprise operating across Wales to deliver various regeneration, environmental and cultural projects for the benefit of local communities. Working in partnership with government, the third sector, business and individuals, Menter Môn attracts funding from different sources to add value and contribute to creating a sustainable future.
- Made with Wool’s partners include Menter Môn and British Wool.