Every Australian woolgrower has been offered a free Woolmark licence to use and a bale stencil to put Australian grown Merino wool on their bales.
The incentive from Australian Wool Innovation stems from a drop in the number of Woolmark licensees.
The Woolmark brand is the world’s best-known textile quality fibre brand and Woolmark certification allows licensees to use the Woolmark logo.
At the recent AWI annual general meeting, chief executive Stuart McCullough said up until now the Woolmark brand has solely been a quality assurance scheme for both manufacturers and the consumers.
He said about 12 months ago, the Board asked to consider an alternative to just having the Woolmark brand as a quality assurance for garments.
“We (AWI) will now start to convert the Woolmark brand from a quality assurance mark for garments, but also a supply chain integrity mark,” Mr McCullough said.
“We have a number of retailers, weavers and knitters already accredited with the Woolmark licence.”
Mr McCullough said offering woolgrowers a free Woolmark licence and bale stencil is an important path for the future of Australian wool.
“We know that Gen Y and Gen Z want to know where wool is coming from, how it was treated in the supply chain and how it’s going to end up when they throw it out,” he said.
“This is a trend that is going to become more profound and we felt that we had the basis with the Woolmark licensing program to form up a supply chain integrity program.”
WoolQ, an online platform where woolgrowers, classers, brokers and buyers can access digital tools to support all stages of the wool-growing and selling cycle, will be the storage unit for this information.
Mr McCullough said through the supply chain AWI has commissioned a block chain project with IBN to help with the process.
Eligible Australian wool growers can receive a free bale stencil from The Woolmark Company.
Swing tags soon to be a thing of the past?
With ecommerce advancing rapidly, swing tags on garments may soon be something of the past.
As their replacement, technology will be built into garments with near-field chips (NFC).
An NFC chip on a the cuff of an Woolmark Optim WR jacket enables smart phone app users to discover the production process of the jacket, an augmented reality experience and other information about the garment.
Using a smartphone, consumers can swipe over the near-field tag which will then provide them with the information.
Mr McCullough said things like NFC communication and augmented reality will be the customers’ key to information or means of understanding the garment.
“AWI had been working hard in-house developing apps to allow customers find out all they need to know about a garment,” Mr McCullough said.
“As soon as you wave the NFC on a particular garment it will go through a scanning process.
“We also have a number of code writers in-house that help retailers sell their product.
“We want to be able to hold an iPhone or an iPad over a garment and demonstrate the technology that is in that garment or shoe.”
Information will include an analysis of the wool fibre and what each component does.
You can download the Optim WR Care app from the Apple App and the Google Play stores.