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BRUSSELS – Ahead of its annual conference, set to be held in May, the IWTO (International Wool Textile Organisation) has released its latest Wool Review which demonstrates a predominant theme of promoting the natural fibre’s environmental credentials.

Sustainability has long been a contentious issue in the wool sector as the disparity of opinion regarding LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) criteria – alleged to contribute detrimentally to how view the fibre’s sustainability statistics – continues to be raised by many in the industry.

At the end of 2017, the IWTO set out its vision for the wool industry and how it intends to combat the perceived negative qualities of its product versus other fibres.

A study (commissioned by, amongst others, the IWTO) was published in February regarding the ways in which Life Cycle Assessments evaluate different textile fibres, with a particular emphasis on wool. This yielded a recommendation of the inclusion of garment use phases in LCA criteria, rather than just the manufacturing process.

LCAs have frequently ranked wool well behind its competitor fibres due to the significant land use required to farm sheep, but those who oppose this cite the figures as wholly inaccurate as they disregard the longevity of the product and the lowered need to launder woollen garments.

The way in which the wool industry and consumers alike interact with sustainability is a running theme throughout the latest IWTO publication’s pages. One article titled: ‘Is biodegradation the way to reduce clothing in landfills?’ explores just this, examining whether biodegradation is the answer to the textile waste issue.

Textile microfibre pollution is also discussed in the review, as many studies are simultaneously being conducted to discover the scale of the problem and which fibres are most responsible for these emissions – both historic and current.

Pamela Ravasio, European outdoor group, also writes an article exploring the role of recycling in the wool industry – as she did in the October/November 2017 issue of Ecotextile News.

Hong Kong is set to host the 87th annual IWTO Congress on 14-16 May 2018. Issue 2 of the IWTO Wool Review is available here.

A feature examining the current situation in the Wool sector, with specific reference to the LCA criteria will feature in the redesigned April/May issue of Ecotextile News magazine. Subscribe here to receive a copy and unlock all our premium online content.

Web: www.iwto.org

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