Sustainability and supporting
sustainable global development

Australia’s wool industry invests heavily in sheep health and welfare, and sustainable land and social resource management.

The wool fibre itself contributes to the sustainability of the global fashion industry, being a renewable, biodegradable, flame-resistant fibre.

Sheep Sustainability Framework

Australia’s sheep meat and wool industry is developing a Sheep Sustainability Framework (the Framework). The Framework will enable the industry to demonstrate sustainable practices, identify areas of production for improvement, and better communicate with customers and consumers.

The Framework will report on the key priorities of responsible sheep meat and wool production to build trust and confidence in the industry.

Adoption of accreditation and certification schemes

Australian wool producers voluntarily participate in international sustainability accreditation and certification programs:

  • AWEX’s SustainaWOOL Integrity Scheme is Australia’s largest, with more than 1,000 accredited growers and supply chain partners. SustainaWOOL is certified under ISO 9001- 2015, and recognises non- and ceased-mulesed wool, as well as wool from sheep mulesed with pain relief.
  • G. Schneider’s Authentico® scheme has more than 600 accredited fine wool growers around Australia, and only accepts non- or ceased-mulesed wool.
  • The Textile Exchange’s Responsible Wool Standard (RWS) is an international wool production and processing certification scheme adopted by some Australian growers. RWS accepts non-mulesed wool only.

The United Nations’ (UN) 17 Sustainable Development Goals

Established in 1945, the UN is made up of 193-member states – these include the 81 wool-growing countries, including Australia.

Since 1992, the UN General Assembly has recognised that in order to address poverty and protect the planet from degradation, it is imperative to establish sustainable consumption and production. As a result, in 2015 the UN General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, underpinned by 17 Sustainable Development Goals with 169 individual targets.

The 2030 Agenda is not just for and about government – it also engages the private sector, civil society, academia and international organisations.

The Australian wool industry actively contributes to international efforts in promoting sustainable industry developments and has been a leader in wool production innovation for decades.

Australia is also an active contributor to the International Wool Textile Organisation (IWTO), the Brussels-based body that’s been representing the interests of the global industry since 1930.

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is responsible for monitoring and reporting Australian’s contributions to the UN Agenda.