The Story of New Zealand Wool.


Wool growing in New Zealand

Man has been using wool from sheep for a long time.  Sheep were first domesticated over nine thousand years ago and introduced to Europe around 4000 BC.  Wool has been used all this time to clothe people and to warm their homes.

The reason wool has been used for so long is that it has many incredible features that nature has built-in over the centuries.  For example wool can keep you warm when it is cold, and keeps you cool when it is hot.   Wool is flame retardant and does not melt like polyamides. Wool carpets actually clean the air around them absorbing toxins and locking them in for up to thirty years.  Wool carpets are even scientifically proven to be allergy safe and ideal for people suffering from asthma as they trap dust from the breathing zone.

In relatively recent history sheep were introduced to New Zealand, a country that was only settled by Europeans in the last 200 years.   New Zealand proved to be the ideal climate for growing clean white wool of exceptional quality.    The wool from New Zealand is grown on sheep that have been especially selected to make the purest most sustainable fibre possible and it is the law in New Zealand that farm land is managed sustainably, protecting native plant and bird species and the famously clean waterways and mountains.

However New Zealand’s ability to produce high quality products from natural and renewable resources has not gone unnoticed.  New Zealand dairy products are in high demand from countries like Russia and China so by growing cows rather than sheep the New Zealand farmer can make a lot more money.  China has a huge appetite for New Zealand’s large volumes of consistent quality wool and currently buys over half of all New Zealand’s wool clip.  This supply and demand scenario has seen prices for New Zealand wool rise dramatically over the last twelve months.  When New Zealand wool goes up in price that sets off a chain reaction that sees global prices increase. This makes it tempting for some manufacturers to substitute poorer wools in place of New Zealand wool.

To address this issue Wools of New Zealand is working with manufacturers and farmers on programmes where the fibre in each carpet can be traced to the specific farm in New Zealand where that wool was grown.  The Laneve programme is up and running in Europe and being rolled out in the USA.

The wool in Laneve products is certified as being sustainably produced with the farmers committing to a strict code of practice covering animal welfare, social welfare and excellence in land management.  What is more, the fibre is grown to specifications set by the carpet mill partners to be the perfect fibre for maximum production efficiency.  So Laneve carpets are not only guaranteed to be genuine renewable New Zealand wool, they are made from the most sustainable carpet fibre available. When somebody purchases a Laneve carpet they are provided with a code which allows them to trace their carpet back to the farm via the internet.

The vast majority of Americans spend their days with plastic under their feet which is made from oil.  Wool carpets make up a small fraction of American carpet sales estimated to be about 3% and although noble efforts are being made to use recycled synthetic fibres and to re-use plastics nothing can compare to a fibre that offers the remarkable benefits of New Zealand wool and can be renewed year on year as it has been for centuries.

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