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What's behind woolmark

China Daily | Updated: 2013-06-24 13:56

Woolmark was originally established in 1936 as the International Wool Secretariat which was a non-profit body comprised of Australian wool growers with the aim of promoting wool products around the world. It officially became "Woolmark" in 1964.

Today its name with the iconic fluid logo is one of the world's 10 most respected and recognized apparel-related brands with an assurance of quality.

The brand is owned by 27,000 Australian wool growers. It seeks to be an important contributor to a versatile and profitable wool industry through intensive research and development, promotions and education on this natural fiber.

The company works throughout the global supply chain from wool growers to retails and in conjunction with this, aims to increase demand and market access for Australian wool.

One of the biggest drivers of growth in the Australian wool industry is demand from the increasing size and affluence of the Chinese market.

China increased its imports of Australian wool by 8 percent in 2011. This makes Australia the largest supplier of wool to China with a 75 percent market share in the last three seasons, according to the data from Woolmark statistics report.

China has always had two of the three key triggers for mass consumption of wool: The suitable climate and a large population. Now they have the third trigger which is wealth. Another driver for the recent surge of popularity in wool at the consumer level is the global desire and search for products that are renewal, sustainable and environmentally friendly, all of which wool fulfills.

Although Woolmark promotes the Australian wool industry in general, it concentrates most of its efforts and the IWP competition on promotions and education on Merino wool.

Merino wool is not only environmentally friendly but it is one of the finest (yet strongest) fibers in the world. To put this in perspective, a strand of human hair is 50-60 microns while Superfine Merino wool is less than 19.5 microns.

The first Merino sheep came to Australia from Morocco via Spain in 1778. The breed was eventually developed to produce the finest wool in the world and Australia has become the ultimate source for it. Merino breeding is complex, difficult and time consuming. Sheep also has to be raised in specific environmental conditions.

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