The Case for Sustainability.

The business case for sustainability has been won, but somebody forgot to tell the generals and the troops.

Sustainability is not just about being green,  it is the difference between success and failure.

There are people with their eyes and ears open and their mouths shut. People who stopped trying to be alpha male and who started listening.  These people have figured out where the market is going.   The market, all markets are driven by consumer sentiment and by legislation.

The trend for ethics, responsibility, trust and perceived value is one way. It is only getting stronger and we are never going back to rubbish products made who knows where using who knows what by who knows who.

If you cannot see the future, if predicting trend and shaping the future is a mystery to you, then well, you stumbled into the wrong blog.

In the future we only buy from brands we trust, manufacturers compete on quality, ethics, transparency and price. Price is driven through efficiency not through cutting corners.

The race to the bottom that killed western textile mills is in the past. In the future we are not just clever, we are wise.   The mills are coming back, but they will never be the same, they will be awesome, efficient, quality organisations with highly motivated and educated teams.

 The future is now. Tell your boss, your CEO and your Chairman, your customer is already there.

new zealand river

This is worth preserving.

 

Wool Reputable

“Integrity trust and transparency are the core values that create long lasting partnerships.” That’s part of a tweet paying tribute to our very valuable relationship we have with the Society of British International Design or SBID.

It was a reply to a quote by Prince William “One thing that I think we all value about New Zealand is the integrity of its institutions”

You cannot under-value integrity, and it is getting more valuable. The interior designers that we are working with are curious about where things come from and who made them. The story of the product is almost as important as form and function.

Trust comes from acting with integrity, consistently over time.   Once word gets out you have a reputation and that leads to new business opportunities.

Earn your reputation by being reputable; build a product with a real story.

Einstein and Spherical Sheep in a Vacuum

Today is Albert Einstein’s birthday, and weirdly there is no Goggle Doodle celebrating the great man?

Albert Einstein

Albert Eintein

With no Einstein we would not understand the curvature of space and time, we would not know how to bend light and we could not colour wool to be purple using surface Plasmon Resonance, What a dull place the world would be.

Its 135 years since Albert Einstein was born,  at that time the light bulb, which has become a symbol for new ideas, was about to be demonstrated.  Science was about to take us from the industrial revolution into an incredible period of human enlightenment.

Science can now do anything with wool.  Providing we use a spherical sheep inside a vacuum. (Science joke there)

We are however at the start of the next great period in human history when we take the enormous accomplishments made by science and use that knowledge to create a world that is a better place for all of its inhabitants.

The next revolution is about finding ways to deliver luxury without burning through the world’s resources.  We are exploring how we can use science to turn the clock back to 1879 before the world became dependent on oil and to re-invent technologies using rapidly renewable materials, like wool.

Integrity and happy sheep

Happy SheepNew Zealand has a reputation for producing clean white soft lovely wool.  Recently via Facebook someone asked “Yeah that’s all OK but how do you treat the sheep?”

I think this was a fair question, although it did get some social media responses as it was read as a little insightful by some.

The short answer of course is “Really well” Our farmers want their animals to be healthy and happy.  They sign up to a wool growing integrity programme with important rules on the environment, social responsibility and Animal Welfare.

Our animal health and welfare manual has firm objectives to ensure that our wooly friends are provided with five basic freedoms.

1. Proper and sufficient food and water.

2. Adequate shelter.

3. The opportunity to display normal patterns of behavior.

4. Physical handling in a way, which minimizes pain or distress to the animal.

5. Protection from and rapid response to any significant injury or disease.

Our wool growers are very aware that if carpet buying people have uninformed views on animal treatment it can put them off purchasing animal fibres.

The growers’ practices are externally verified through an audit process, which they gladly do in order to qualify for our Integrity programme.

Farmers tend to be animal lovers, they don’t want to see any animal suffer and they know that healthy happy sheep grow better wool.

Happy Sheep in New Zealand

Happy Sheep

Radiant Orchid, Mauve and Permission to Innovate.

The market knows best except when it doesn’t.

It’s a nice safe strategy to be market-led.  Deliver your customers what will solve their problems and make their experience better.  But what if the market doesn’t know what is good for it.  What if the market makes beige and never experiments with Radiant Orchid (Pantone colour of the year 2014)?

What if the market thinks natural = sustainable and never tries to get better, smarter and more efficient?

perkins mauve

Perkins Original Synthetic Mauve

Yesterday I was lucky enough to see the very 1st synthetic dye ever produced, kept behind glass at Leeds University.  When William Perkins invented this he wasn’t following market signals, he wasn’t even trying to invent synthetic dyes. He was trying to create a cure for malaria!  But it turned out the market was tired of beige natural dyed potato coloured clothing.  A textile and chemistry revolution took off and the rest is history.

Funny enough the 1st synthetic dye was actually mauve or as Pantone call it Radiant Orchid.

We must listen to the market and be guided by its trends and the opportunities it demands.   We have to look far ahead of what the current market can tell us and build new innovations that will create new product categories and new industries.

Good market research and understanding your customer’s future needs gives you the intuition to innovate.    Permission is not required just get on with it.

radiant orchid

Pantone Colour of the year. “radiant orchid”

Best Domotex Ever

Wools of New Zealand just experienced an amazing Domotex in Hannover, the most successful ever.  Maybe we are doing something right?

As the world moves swiftly from mindless (consumerism) to mindful, regarding what people buy, how we travel and especially what materials we live with, ethics, trust and quality, become critical parts of any product offering.  Organisations that embrace Sustainability and “doing the right thing” will be the ones that survive.

We embraced sustainability over five years ago and developed the Laneve brand to certify wool products that scream integrity.  By ignoring the stalwarts and sticking to our belief we have gradually moved into a position as the leaders in our small industry.

Suddenly we are the “go to” people for building integrity and quality into natural products.  All of a sudden we are inundated with enquiries from brands and organizations that want to secure their own future by partnering with the farmers.

It’s the same story we hear from our friends in the coffee sector.  Existing in the future requires a robust and enduring connection with the people that grow your materials and with the value chain.

It is why we had such a great trade show in Domotex Hannover.

It seems suddenly the market demands, secure supply, stable pricing, full transparency and corporate social responsibility built in.   We have all this stuff as well as slick and on-trend marketing and design..

A few images of our Domotex stand follow..

Martinelli at Domotex

The Martinelli space looked really sharp (as always)

Domotex stand WNZ

The Wools of New Zealand stand at Domotex

IMG_2451

Looking through the Flock space into the Wool centre

Wool Season

It’s Friday afternoon, the last friday before Christmas.

This will be the last WoolBlog post for 2013.   The blog has been found 27,844 times as I write this.  You might be visitor number 27,845 (sorry no prizes).

A friend sent me a Christmas message today with the picture below.  Although obviously missing one of the best opportunities of the year to send sheep pictures about, I think this is a brilliant reminder of why we need natural and therefor biodegradable products.

Where are the sheep!

Where are the sheep!

After we unwrap our presents next week lets all recycle the packaging.

It’s time to put down your iPad, turn off your PC, Put the phone on silent and go have a brilliant festive season with the things that really matter – the people you care about.

Look forward to more sheep antics and sustainable woolly rants in 2014 – thanks for reading WoolBlog