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

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

Care Statement

According to sustainablebrands.com over 50% of global consumers are willing to pay more for socially responsible products.

This varies according to markets demographics, with European consumers being more skeptical than Asian consumers.  But the numbers are staggering.  People really do care about the integrity and the impact of what they purchase, at least half of them do anyway.

As with everything it’s about building trust.  People love brands that they trust and they will show loyalty and forgiveness.  Brands that consistently deliver a feel good experience will win every time.

Buying natural products supports rural farming communities, buying synthetic products supports the oil industry.  Maybe if people thought about this they would use more wool?

What we have to do is pull heart-strings.  It’s our job to build trust and to deliver integrity.  With real stories that resonate with the half of consumers who care.

Perhaps we need to stop making sustainability statements on corporate websites? No one cares what your carbon footprint is, that was last centuries obsession.  Make a care statement instead, but make it real.

More information on the Sustainable Brands survey is here

Gratuitous Heartstring Picture.

Gratuitous Heart-string Picture.

Share the carpet love

Wool is brilliant stuff.  The smart people got together and agreed that wool is the future of everything that’s cool sophisticated and trendy.

Unfortunately lots of people missed this get together and are still not buying wool carpets for their homes.

I don’t think they purposely intend to neglect the health of their loved ones by making them walk on slippery dangerous wood floors or by letting them inhale dust that is floating about.  Possibly the static shocks from synthetic fibres are just considered a fact of life, part of the price you pay to live on a plastic sheet of fake.

If you have a friend or family member that you care for please be kind and tell them they need to install a warm, soft and life enriching wool carpet.

If they purchase a Wools of New Zealand brand carpet they will get..

Cleaner air in their home

A warmer home

Lower heating bills

Fewer accidents and slips

A much quieter home

A cleaner planet, with more trees, more dolphins and happier people (click here)

the knowledge that they did their bit to buy an ethical and environmentally friendly product.

Show some carpet love and buy a New Zealand wool carpet.  Please. 🙂

carpet

Share some wool carpet love

Natural’s Not Enough

Natural Isn’t Enough

I come from a land where there are many more sheep than people;   a land untouched by Europeans until only 150 years ago.   As you can imagine when I left New Zealand seven years ago as a carpet designer I had spent my life working and living with natural fibres like wool.  I designed and exported beautiful wool carpets all over the world.   When you do something well it gets noticed so I was then asked to come to the UK to show the rest of the world how to create a business around excellence in wool product development.

The UK like New Zealand has a long history with wool, cotton and other natural fibres.  It was textile manufacturing that sparked the industrial revolution in Manchester which shaped the world as we know it.

For centuries man has been using wool to warm his cave and shelter his family.  The benefits of natural fibres were pretty obvious.

Roll on to 2013 and we live in a world where 97% of Americans are living on synthetic materials made from oil.  Today only 30% of Brits are living with wool and even in New Zealand, I am ashamed to say, people are choosing plastic based carpet with a small amount of recycled content and think they are saving the planet!

So it is blatantly clear.  Being Natural is No Longer Enough.

Wool carpets need to be acknowledged as a lifestyle choice that will have a positive impact on the health and comfort of our families.

Wool carpets remain the very best thing you can put in your home to create a warm and safe environment.  Wool absorbs indoor air contaminants like formaldehyde and locks it away for up to thirty years.  Wool carpets trap dust and keep it out of the breathing zone.  Wool carpets with a good underlay absorb shock and assist with posture, as well as being anti-slip.   Walk across a hard floor and then a wool carpet and hear the difference, or rather don’t hear it.

It seems that in focussing on colour and style, which of course wool offers more options for than any other material, we have lost sight of what really matters.  The comfort and wellbeing of human beings and the future of our planet.

Wool is of course the ultimate eco-warrior fibre.  Sheep in New Zealand grow a new fleece every year.   Wool is 50% carbon which means that it’s a carbon sink locking C0² away from the ozone layer.  New Zealand wool is the purest and most ecological of all and is only grown on free range farms under strict animal welfare, environmental and social standards.

Through the Wool for a Better World program.  At Wools of New Zealand we support the Heiffer foundation through the sale of wool carpets, we support the endangered Hector’s dolphin through the sale of wool fabrics and we support the Woodland trust in the UK through the sale of our recycled underlay.   On top of being brilliant at designing stuff, giving back to the environment through these activities and just being really nice people perhaps it is time to get active and shout louder,  perhaps it time we start a war on oil instead of a war for oil?

Let’s get reminding people of the many technical benefits of wool and try to stop this mad obsession with oil based plastic carpets and noisy hard floors.

New Zealand wool factory

Wool growing in New Zealand

Crumbs!

Crumbs!

How deep should sustainably produced carpets go? Much deeper than the pile.

Selecting something natural is a great first step on your mission to creating a green eco-interior, but knowing where the materials were grown, how they were cultivated, who got paid, what milk got spilled along the way should also enter the equation.

Laneve textiles tick all the boxes, and we can prove it… here
But what’s underneath the carpet?  You shouldn’t pick a green carpet and sweep the rest of the sustainability issues “under the carpet”.
What happens to the waste from factories that produce wool carpet?  If it’s a responsible producer they send it to a recycling facility like Anglo Recycling in the UK.  Anglo are taking the off-cuts from British wool carpet producers of New Zealand wool carpets and combining it with rubber crumb (also completely recycled from tyres) to create an excellent carpet underlay, CRUMBWOOL.

So Laneve customers can enjoy a total environmentally friendly and socially responsible product. This does not mean compromising on quality or performance.
Don’t forget wool has incredible insulation properties and won’t burn. This stuff is so good that it has just been installed in the New Zealand high commission in London, underneath a Laneve carpet by Flock – Natural Living.
Not only do the ministers, diplomats and dignitaries who enter the penthouse suite get an amazing visual experience, they also get a soft and quiet environment that has not compromised the environment.
Wait! It gets even better… Wools of New Zealand want to promote Crumbwool underlay as a responsible choice to enhance the experience of a Laneve carpet and to grow awareness of our brand. We have decided to give proceeds from the sale of Crumbwool to the Woodland Trust as part of our Wool For A Better World Programme.

crumbwool underlay

Crumbwool and Flock being installed at NZ House – Photo by Darren Keane