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Wool Connect 2021 Summary Report

Wool Connect – Connecting people with people and people with the planet

On 07-09 September 2021, the Schneider Group organised its second edition of the Wool Connect Online Grower Conference. Each day consisted of 2-hour sessions filled with presentations and discussions on current topics of concern. 439 participants from 36 different countries registered for the event, Australians being the largest group. The majority of participants were wool growers, followed by industry and brokers. Each day around 180 people attended the sessions live via Zoom actively taking part by posing questions for the speakers and commenting in the chat. Those participants who could not attend the event live, have the possibility to watch the recorded presentations on demand in English and Spanish via the Wool Connect member community.

A total of 27 speakers spoke live at the event including a recorded message from His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales as the patron of the Campaign for Wool.

Strong opening message

The conference was opened by Elena Schneider, Board Member of the Schneider Group. She talked about her passion for food and stated: ‘Like there is a slow food movement in contrast to fast food, there also needs to be a slow fashion movement working against the extensive fast fashion industry, as the way we consume makes the difference. The aim should be to increase the consumption of wool and other natural fibres against synthetic fibres, which causes microplastic pollution. We need to ensure a better future for all of us’. She concluded with the words: ‘I strongly believe, there is only one way of solving the problems like economic and environmental issues or  COVID-19 by working together, connecting with each other, acting together and thinking as a community. As part of the Schneider Group’s Together 2030 sustainability strategy, we want to promote pre-competitive cooperation between all stakeholders of the wool industry. Through Wool Connect we want to connect people with people but also people with the planet’. Elena Schneider’s opening statement was supported by a short video of the ‘Hummingbird Story’ which developed into a common thread throughout the conference. 

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Day 1 – International Context and Progress

The topic of day 1 discussed the international context and progress for the wool industry. Speakers presented the overarching international strategies in regard to climate change and the circular economy that influence the fashion and textile industry. CEO of Textile Exchange, La Rhea Pepper, spoke about the organisation’s Climate+ strategy, to which many brands and retailers have committed themselves. Angus Ireland from the Australian Wool Innovation talked about the ongoing lobby work of the wool industry towards the European Union’s Product Environmental Footprint work. Matteo Mantellassi, CEO of wool recycling company Manteco highlighted wool’s benefits for a circular economy.    

Day 2 – Animal Welfare

On Day 2, speakers focused on Animal Welfare as a continuation of the discussions from last year’s Wool Connect conference. Many speakers were repeats from last year, showcasing the progress made over the past year based on the issues identified previously. This included Paul Swan from SustainaWOOL and Deon Saayman from Cape Wools South Africa who both announced collaboration agreements between various wool integrity schemes including Authentico. 

Furthermore, spinning company Südwolle Group, weaver Marzotto Wool Manufacturing and retail brand Hugo Boss reported on the current market, noticeable changes in consumer behaviour, and the increasing demand for certified non-mulesed wool. 

Day 3 – Regenerative Agriculture

On the third and final day of the event, industry experts discussed regenerative agriculture, a topic of interest that came up several times during the previous two days as well. While animal welfare and non-mulesed wool is still an important topic, the manufacturing and retail industry is shifting its focus to lowering its carbon footprint through regenerative agriculture, carbon credits, and natural capital accounting. TWIST editor Jonathan Dyson provided a good overview and analysis of the activities within the industry on this topic. Further industry representatives then showcased their work in this field. 

Closing of the event

CEO of the Schneider Group Giovanni Schneider summarised the event with the words that ‘Wool Connect discussed all the major topics around the industry right now. It was nice to see, that animal welfare is no longer the elephant in the room. It is reassuring to hear and see Growers who are not shying away from talking about their efforts on animal welfare. The new challenge is about sustainability and that is what we need to focus on going forward’. 

Wool Connect initiator and Chief Sustainability Officer Willy Gallia emphasized the importance of continued dialogue and collaboration along the entire supply chain to work towards the goal of increasing wool’s market share while also providing solutions to the planet’s urgent issues such as biodiversity loss and climate change.  

The dialogue continues on the Wool Connect member platform

Despite the live event being over, the conversation continues on the Wool Connect member platform, where community members can join Groups and Forums on topics of concern. One example is the RWS Group where representatives of Textile Exchange will be available to answer member questions around the Responsible Wool Standard.  

Wool Connect Android App launched

In addition, the platform is also available as an Android app, which makes it easier to access content and connect while on the move. An Apple app will be launched shortly as well. The app is available for download in the google play store here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.gschneider.woolconnect

Wool Connect Android App

Wool Connect 2022

Giovanni Schneider announced that a third live online conference of Wool Connect will be held in the autumn of 2022, the 100th year anniversary of the Schneider Group. Wool Connect is an important pillar of the company’s Together 2030 sustainability strategy and therefore a vital platform to contribute to the Science Based Targets set by the Schneider Group.

Anyone is welcome to sign up to Wool Connect and watch all presentations and Q&A Sessions on demand. Just visit the Wool Connect website: https://woolconnect.gschneider.com/

 

AUSTRALIAN WEEKLY MARKET REPORT

Comment

In a week where we thought the market was going to struggle it finished the week in positive territory with a couple of interesting highlights. FNF wool throughout the micron categories continues to bring small incentives in prices when compared to VM2% and above which are generally discounted. RWS NM/CM wool is still in keen demand with incentives increasing to around 10/15% above the spot market which is becoming the expectation of many growers. China is still evaluating the market and remains nervous about local processing and increased sea freight costs and export textile charges into Europe and USA. Europe is quietly optimistic for an improvement in weaving types and currently experiencing good demand for processed and knitting types which should see the market with a  positive attitude to the final quarter of 2021. Fine market indicators continue to increase despite the 15 micron which faltered this week, however demand remains strong.

AWEX Eastern Indicator compared with 03/09/2021

Eastern Indicator

Close: 1352

Change in % -0.70

If you want to learn more about AWEX indicators, visit the official website http://www.awex.com.au

Authentico Index Values

15 Micron

Close: 4230

Change in %:  -5.7

16 Micron

Close: 3183

Change in %: 0.00

17 Micron

Close: 2660

Change in %: +2.97

18 Micron

Close: 2225

Change in %: +1.20

19 Micron

Close: 1807

Change in %: +0.80

Authentico Indicator

Close: 2706

Change in %: +0.30

Forecast

The market seems to be on the edge of more positive times with a relatively empty pipeline for greasy wool. We are seeing more enquiry across a wide range of types and destinations as demand for responsibly sourced wool is on the increase and volumes remain relatively small when compared to the total national supply.

Auction offering – current week

Market          Sale         Offered        Sold       Passed In

North                      S 11                   9989                  8644                13.5%

South                     M 11                  17417                  15344               12.0%

West                       F 11                    5419                   4661                  14.0%

Auction offering – next week

Market          Sale          Sale days

North                      S 12                      T / W

South                      M 12                     T / W

West                        F 12                      T / W

If you want to see the complete Wool Sales Roster click here.

EASTERN AUSTRALIAN MARKET REPORT

COMMENT

Better tone to finish the week in positive territory.

FLEECE

16.0/21.5 micron FNF finished the day par to 1% dearer, VM 2% firm.

All other descriptions irregular.

SKIRTINGS

Best FNF firm.

B/C Fault par to 1% easier.

OPEN TOP

Unchanged all descriptions.

FREMANTLE MARKET REPORT

COMMENT

Fleece 10-15 cents cheaper, skirtings 10 cents cheaper, open tops unchanged.

FLEECES.

The fleece market was mixed today, with 17.5u and finer closing 15-20 cents dearer, while broader microns and poorer style fleece were around 20-30 cents cheaper. 

The passed-in rate for fleece was at 23.1%.

SKIRTINGS

Skirtings were 10 cents cheaper.

OPEN TOP

Open tops were generally unchanged on very limited volume.

 

EASTERN AUSTRALIAN MARKET REPORT

COMMENT

Best fine firm, all others cheaper.

FLEECE

16.0 micron and finer less extreme and 2% easier.

16.5 / 18.0 micron best types fully firm with a focus on NM/CM lines

18.5 micron 1% easier

All other descriptions 2% easier, 20.0 micron and broader most affected.

SKIRTINGS

All descriptions 1% easier

OPEN TOP

1% easier

NEW ZEALAND MARKET REPORT

Summary

Market opens easier after lockdown.

Comment

North Island only offering 6,500 bales.  The selection consisted of 66% crossbred second shear, good style bulk 75mm, 9% fleece 75/100mm longer average style, 9% lambs average/good style, 16% associated oddments.  More subdued tone with Indian Sub Continent and United Kingdom main supported by Europe, China and Australasian carpet mills.

Fleece

Crossbred fleece 5% cheaper.

Second Shears

All descriptions 7.5% cheaper.

Lambs

Unchanged.

Oddments

All descriptions 3.5% cheaper.

Passings

17% Passed In.

Next Auction

South Island only offering 10,400 bales Thursday 16th September.

AUSTRALIAN WEEKLY MARKET REPORT

Comment

The superfine wool market is certainly having it’s time in the sun. The 15.0 micron and finer range picked up again this week with prices as much as 20% dearer for selected quality types. In the end our Authentico index for 15.0 micron was 13.7% dearer and still trending upwards. To average 15.0 micron is the key with those wools around 14.5 micron attracting significant buyer support from a variety of companies. In the auction room two buyers would challenge each other and for one to drop out, another would enter. Something we haven’t seen for years. The market hasn’t seen these types for a couple of seasons with the prolonged drought experienced 2 years ago followed now by the much better growing season that is seeing many clips testing up to 1.0 micron broader on average.

AWEX Eastern Indicator compared with 03/09/2021

Eastern Indicator

Close: 1361

Change in % +2.17

If you want to learn more about AWEX indicators, visit the official website http://www.awex.com.au

Authentico Index Values

15 Micron

Close: 4488

Change in %:  +13.7

16 Micron

Close: 3182

Change in %: +3.14

17 Micron

Close: 2581

Change in %: -0.88

18 Micron

Close: 2198

Change in %: +1.24

19 Micron

Close: 1792

Change in %: +1.01

Authentico Indicator

Close: 2698

Change in %: +2.93

Forecast

Chinese activity was evident late last week but demand slowed just prior to this week’s sale. It was enough to kick start the sale on a positive note. Perhaps a sign of a little more maturity in the market that is leading towards more stability. Just as we’ve seen for the past 6 months or so. It is generally a slow period at this time of the year so to have a market around about from week to week is a good result for this time of the season. Greasy wool stocks still appear to be low so we remain positive in the medium term.

We noticed one exporter has launched a new buying code with ‘non mulesed’ in the company name. It’s certainly at least an indication of the increasing trend in global demand for wool from non mulesed clips.

Auction offering – current week

Market          Sale         Offered        Sold       Passed In

North                      S 10                   9809                  8599                12.3%

South                     M 10                  17448                 16023               8.2%

West                       F 10                    4441                   4185                  5.8%

Auction offering – next week

Market          Sale          Sale days

North                      S 11                      T / W

South                      M 11                     T / W

West                        F 11                      T / W

If you want to see the complete Wool Sales Roster click here.

FREMANTLE MARKET REPORT

COMMENT

Fleece 10-15 cents cheaper, skirtings 10 cents cheaper, open tops unchanged.

FLEECES.

The fleece market eased slightly today. 18.5u and finer were 10-15 cents cheaper, 19.0-19.5u were 5-10 cents cheaper, while broader microns were 20 cents cheaper. Some selected best style, good spec lots were still sought after and sold at similar levels to yesterday.

The passed-in rate for fleece was at 6.4%.

SKIRTINGS

Skirtings were 10 cents cheaper.

OPEN TOP

Open tops were generally unchanged on very limited volume.

 

EASTERN AUSTRALIAN MARKET REPORT

COMMENT

Market firm. Fine wool tending dearer again.

FLEECE

17.5 micron and finer 1% dearer

VM 1.0 keenly sought after across all types and descriptions.

All others unchanged.

SKIRTINGS

17.5 micron and finer 1 to 2% dearer

18.0/18.5 micron 1% dearer

OPEN TOP

1% dearer in a limited selection.

EASTERN AUSTRALIAN MARKET REPORT

COMMENT

Market dearer. All descriptions under pressure.

FLEECE

All fleece generally 2 to 3% dearer with light fault most affected.

SKIRTINGS

All descriptions 2 to 3% dearer, best light fault most affected.

OPEN TOP

2% dearer.