The Quest for Organic Lanolin

Managing Director Ralf Kunert of Naturamus explains what can be achieved when creating partnerships across industries.

One of the by-products of scouring (washing) wool is wool grease, which is refined into lanolin. Lanolin is an important raw material for the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industry as it forms the basis for lipsticks and creams.

Naturamus specializes in sourcing natural organic raw materials such as lanolin. Naturamus is part of WALA, a German-based company in the natural cosmetics and pharmaceutical industry founded in 1935.

Cross-industry collaboration

In 2016, Naturamus partnered with our business Fuhrmann Argentina to create an innovative product that had never existed before: Organic Lanolin. Both partners brought different expertise to the table. Naturamus offered insights from the consumer market and the requirements of the cosmetic industry and Fuhrmann Argentina had the organic on-farm and processing expertise.

We talked to Naturamus Managing Director Ralf Kunert about his mission of sourcing organic raw materials and the partnership with our business Fuhrmann Argentina.


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Going above the highest standards

The partnership and direct dialogue between Fuhrmann Argentina and Naturamus enabled the Fuhrmann team to identify exactly what could be done in order to meet the high requirements of the organic cosmetic industry from the farm stage. While the Fuhrmann managed farms as well as the mill, both meet all the GOTS organic standard requirements for primary production and wool processing, the small concentrated amounts of chemicals still contained in the wool grease were above the accepted level for an organic lanolin product destined for skincare products. The challenge for the Fuhrmann Argentina team was, therefore, to identify which processes within the wool production could be changed in such a way that animal welfare and quality standards could still be met while also reducing allowed chemical traces in the organic lanolin product.

On-farm, the identified solution lay in doing the routine health checks at a different point in time of the year or even avoiding the use of certain drugs approved by the organic standard of primary production. This change in animal welfare management ensures that chemical traces vanish from the lanolin when the wool is shorn and the sheep can stay healthy as always.
In the mill, improvements were made in the way wool lots were separated into different lots for processing to ensure the organic lanolin stays pure.

Once the lanolin leaves the Fuhrmann Argentina mill, it is sent to a refining mill Inquimec in Buenos Aires for filtering and purifying. Based on the collaboration, Inquimec refining mill also achieved the certification of organic status in its process. It is as far as we know, the only company in the world that has certified this organic process.
From Argentina, the lanolin is shipped to Naturamus in Germany where it gets filtered one additional time. The final result is a 100% organic lanolin product ready to create the most natural cosmetic products the world has to offer.

The Schneider Group joins the Science Based Target initiative

Commitment to set company-wide emission targets in line with climate science

On 14 April 2020, The Schneider Group officially committed to set science-based targets to reduce carbon emissions to keep a rise in global temperature to well below 2°C by joining the Science Based Target initiative.

The environment and Covid-19

The Schneider Group’s Science Based Targets initiative commitment has been officially announced on the initiative’s website in mid-April 2020 while the whole world is still battling with the  Covid-19 pandemic. The Schneider Group and its employees around the world have also been impacted by the pandemic and it is yet to be seen how and when we will jointly emerge from this global spanning crisis. 

Nevertheless, even in these socially and financially difficult times, it is important to not forget the third equation of the triple bottom line of a business: the environment. Ironically during the Covid-19 pandemic, carbon emissions are low as travel and production have been extremely restricted. Immediately we see positive effects for the environment as for the first time in over 30 years it is possible to view the Himalayas in plain sight. 

More than ever, it is clear that the industry, including the wool industry, needs to find solutions to create a high level of economic value with a low output of carbon emissions and high attention in animal welfare to ensure economic and social stability within society while also ensuring a healthy planet for our society to live on. 

This is why even in these severe times, it is important for businesses to continue working on setting and implementing targets to lower their carbon emissions. This is the only way to ensure that together we reach the international goal to limit global warming to 2 degrees C to avoid the most dangerous consequences of climate change. The Science Based Targets initiative’s Sectoral Decarbonisation Approach helps determine how much a company needs to cut its own emissions in order to contribute to the goal. By joining the Science Based Targets initiative, The Schneider Group is doing its part to battle Climate Change.  

As society settles into a new normal with the virus Covid-19 being a part of it we also have the opportunity to change how we live, play and work for the better of us and our planet. 

Why have we committed to set a science-based target (rather than another target)?

Over the past years, we educated ourselves, connected with relevant organisations and established internal structures in order to continue challenging ourselves to reduce our own company-wide footprint. Through this process, we identified that science-based targets are the most demanding, precise and measurable target setting tools available. We wanted to hold ourselves accountable to the most serious and relevant sustainability credentials any company could aim for. We also wanted to leave no room for green-washing and not leave a backdoor open to wiggle ourselves out when things get hard. While our commitment will not be a walk in the park, science-based targets will enable us to measure exactly where we stand and help us identify in which areas of the business we can create the most effective changes. 

Why is taking climate action important to The Schneider Group? 

At The Schneider Group, we source, process and supply wool and natural fibres to assist our customers in producing sustainable, fully traceable, high-quality products. We believe in a future where all wool and other animal fibres are sustainable, ethically sourced and traceable. This is why we made sustainability a strategic priority for all our activities and are continuously investing in the following strategic areas: Raising animal welfare standards, reducing carbon emissions and overall impact; and applying traceable technology.

Our commitment to the Science Based Target initiative falls of course under the strategic area of reducing carbon emissions and overall impact.  

What benefits do we anticipate after setting a science-based target?

The first most important benefit of setting science-based targets is that it enables us to actually achieve our vision of a future where all wool and other animal fibres are sustainable, ethically sourced and traceable. In addition, science-based targets will help us identify exactly where we are in our journey of achieving our vision and what the next steps are that we must take. It will help us anticipate possible threats on the road and help us innovate together with all supply chain partners involved to find solutions on how we can turn these threats into opportunities. These opportunities will be good for the planet as well as for all supply chain partners involved.  Through our own Authentico Integrity Scheme, we already have a system in place that will let us work closely with woolgrowers and brokers on achieving the set targets. Last but not least we hope that we can set an example and inspire other companies to join us on this journey. 

What do we think the challenges might be and how do we plan to overcome them?

Challenges we anticipate revolve around the reduction of carbon emissions at scope 3 of our supply chain, meaning our suppliers; which are the growers around the world. We already know from conducting a Life Cycle Assessment that carbon emissions at the farming stage will be a challenge that we cannot tackle on our own. This is why we are already engaging ourselves in the global wool community of carbon emission professionals looking at this stage of the wool supply chain. In addition, we will be working directly with wool growers through our Authentico Integrity Scheme in order to work on solutions on how to reduce carbon emissions jointly. 

For more information about Science Based Targets initiative visit


January Fairs 2020

Report from the January Fairs 2020

For everyone involved in the textile manufacturing supply chain, the new year tends to start quite busy as several large textile trade fairs are scheduled during the month of January. Members of the Schneider Group team also made sure to attend the trade fairs and we summarised a small report for you with the key trends and impressions.

Heimtextil – Frankfurt, Germany – 07-10 January 2020

Heimtextil is the largest international fair for home textiles ranging from bedding, curtains, towels to wallpaper. This year marked the 50th edition of the fair. The attendance of exhibitors, as well as visitors, was lower compared to previous years. The organiser Messe Frankfurt explained the lower participation with the earlier date, consolidation of retail outlets and growth of e-commerce as well as a general economic slowdown.
As the years before, the major topic throughout the fair remained sustainability. However, retailers visiting the fair this year seemed to have had a more educated and deeper understanding of sustainability and well understood the difference between greenwashing and certified sustainable supply chains. To mark the commitment to sustainability for the entire home textile industry, Heimtextil partnered with the United Nations to jointly focus on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Another key focus lay on the topic of sleep. More and more natural materials find their way back into the bedroom as sleep or the lack thereof has been identified as a major health crisis. This focus on sleep is beneficial for wool as more and more research conducted by AWI and The Woolmark Company together with IWTO is providing evidence of how wool ensures a better night’s sleep.

Domotex – Hannover, Germany – 10-13 January 2020

Domotex, the largest floor covering exhibition, also had a decline in participants. Reasons for the lower participation being consolidation in the market as well as economic pressures. The theme of the fair was ‘Naturalness and Sustainability’ as retailers are looking for flooring products that contribute to a sense of wellbeing and staying healthy indoors. This trend is a result of the world becoming more chaotic and complex which makes consumers search peace and calm within their own four walls. While wool carpets obviously meet this mark, also synthetic and hard floor coverings presented their latest product designs and innovations that meet or create a feeling of naturalness and sustainability.

ISPO – Munich, Germany – 26-29 January 2020

The last show of the month was the largest international fair for sport and outdoor gear. Similar to Heimtextil, the ISPO fair celebrated its 50th anniversary focusing only on discussions about the future of the sport and outdoor industry and not on the past. The fair’s three themes were 1. Be Responsible, 2. Be Active and 3. Be Creative. This of course also meant that sustainability was one of the key topics throughout the fair; the logic being that if nature is destroyed there is no playground for sports and outdoor activities anymore and therefore no market for sports and outdoor industry.

Many exhibitors showcased their sustainable product innovations. Many brands presented wood-based (not wool) fibres as their biodegradable and sustainable solution or focused on recycled synthetic fibres. Of course, wool was also well represented as a sustainable fibre choice for many brands. More and more brands even presented not only wool base layers but also wool mid- and outer layer garments. This means a wider range of wool micron fibres finds their way into sports and outdoor apparel.

Wool was a key component of the 2020 product of the year. The Alpina Sports Prolan Vest included back protection made of new wool instead of plastic polymers. The vest is for freeskiers or mountain bikers to protect against serious injuries. The vest and the back protector are both made from wool and therefore ensure more comfort through better body climate and odour neutrality and sustainability.

On Monday afternoon, the International Wool Textile Organisation (IWTO) had organised two hours of presentations and discussions, called ‘Meet the Wool Chain’. A woolgrower, shearer and broker showcased their work and answered audience questions. The session was well attended by fair visitors.

As our report shows, sustainability has been a key topic throughout all of January fairs, not only in 2020 but also during the previous years. However, the discussions about the topic have deepened and became more differentiated. At ISPO for example, we saw many brands emphasize that they have been acting sustainable for many years. This form of differentiation becomes necessary as all brands level up their game on creating more sustainable supply chains and products. A better and more differentiated understanding among brands and retailers of the individual sustainability topics will be beneficial for wool while at the same time will hold us accountable to deliver more detailed information about how and why we do the things we do.

Australian woolgrowers meet with The Schneider Group team to discuss market demands

A direct dialogue is the way forward

On 9 and 11 November 2019, Australian woolgrowers meet with staff members of the Schneider Group in Goulburn and Launceston to connect and to have an open dialogue about the wool market demand. Both events were held under the umbrella of the Schneider Group`s own integrity scheme Authentico.

At both events, Managing Director of G. Schneider Australia, Tim Marwedel, as well as the G. Schneider CEO, Jeffrey Losekoot, gave an introduction to the Schneider Group’s profile and global activities including its strategic commitment to creating a sustainable and traceable wool supply chain.

Tim Marwedel provided an overview of the Authentico integrity scheme to which over 450 Australian and New Zealand wool growers have already signed up. Only recently Authentico reviewed its scheme to only accept NM and CM declared wool. Jeffrey Losekoot explained to growers during the event, that the changes of the Authentico requirements were necessary as the demand from retail has shifted even more towards non-mulesing wool only. More and more retailers define their own sourcing policy with set goals to source NM wool only by a certain date. This stronger shift to NM wool also brings along a higher demand for traceability and sustainability in general, Mr. Losekoot explained further. The discussions after presentations had finished, circled especially around mulesing to better understand the nuances the brands and retailers are concerned about.

‘In order for the whole wool supply chain to have a future, it is vital for early-stage processors like the Schneider Group, to have a direct dialogue with woolgrowers across the country. Only through an open dialogue we can create a better understanding at both ends of the supply chain and find solutions jointly in order to meet the demand of the market.’ Mr. Losekoot summarised.
‘We write market reports, we publish regularly on our blog and post on social media in order to spread market information as best as we can, but at the end of the day, a good direct conversation is the best value we can get and hopefully we can also give to growers’, Mr. Marwedel described the group’s motivation behind meeting with growers.

Participating wool growers were an outstanding group of compassionate and highly educated professionals running big businesses. The health and wellbeing of their animals and the environment in which they live are essential for their business and future family generations. Many are at least 3rd generation wool growers, some up to 6th or 7th generation. The Schneider Group itself is a family business in 3rd generation and was founded in Sydney in 1922. This is why the Schneider Group appreciates the hard work wool growers are investing every day. A closer collaboration through the Authentico integrity scheme can help ensure a sustainable future for the generations to come. Participating wool growers expressed a high interest and motivation in better understanding who is buying their wool and where their wool ends up in the market.

At the event in Launceston, another announcement was made, as Wool Broker Roberts recognised the Schneider Group including the Authentico scheme as their preferred privileged partner for their new Natural Tasmanian Wool initiative.

Jeffrey Losekoot - CEO at G. Schneider

Jeffrey Losekoot – CEO at G. Schneider

Tim Marwedel - Managing Director at G. Schneider Australia

Tim Marwedel – Managing Director at G. Schneider Australia

Fashion for Global Climate Action

Fashion for Climate Action

The Schneider Group joined the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action

We are proud to announce that we have joined the UNFCCC’s Fashion for Global Climate Action initiative as a signatory to the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action.

The Fashion for Global Climate Action initiative calls on the Fashion industry to acknowledge the contribution of the sector to climate change and our responsibility to strive towards climate neutrality for a safer planet.

At the Schneider Group we believe that through collective action and bold leadership, we have the power to make this fast and drastic transformation. By signing the Charter, we want to demonstrate our commitment to playing our part to ensure the fashion sector is on the path to a low-carbon future.

In line with the principles and targets enshrined in the Charter and the aims of the Paris Agreement, the Schneider Group commits to a 30% GHG emissions reduction by 2030 and we will strive to decarbonisation of the production phase, selection of climate-friendly and sustainable materials, low-carbon transport, improved consumer dialogue and awareness, work with the financing community and policymakers to catalyse scalable solutions, and explore circular business models.

In order to achieve our commitments, we have already initiated several actions and projects to ensure we can reduce our impact as quickly as possible. Our Group-wide Life Cycle Assessment we will be able to better identify areas for improvement and benchmark ourselves going forward. In Argentina, we have already invested into carbon positive projects to offset some of our emissions and we are developing our own carbon positive projects.

Speaking at the launch event for the Framework, UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Patricia Espinosa explained that the fashion industry is in a unique position to lead change in the world. “The fashion industry is always two steps ahead when it comes to defining world culture, so I am pleased to see it now also leading the way in terms of climate action.”

With this in mind, we hope our commitment will inspire our customers, communities and governments to raise their climate ambition in a united effort to limit global warming to 1.5oC. This is a race we can—and must—win to avoid significantly worsening the risk of droughts, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.


Logo Fashion for Climate Action

Woolly warm welcome to our new staff members

All in on sustainability

The Schneider Group creates a Group-wide Sustainability Manager position

Willy Gallia - Sustainability Manager

Starting September 2019, Willy Gallia has joined the Schneider Group team as the Sustainability Manager. This newly created position is part of a wider Group strategy to push wool as a sustainable fibre while also continuously improving the existing supply chain from farm to top.

Giovanni Schneider explains: “Over the past couple of years we have invested into several key steps to offer our clients sustainable and traceable wool top. We are now seeing traction in demand for our sustainable approach, which made it the right moment to focus all of our efforts in the hiring of a Sustainability Manager.”

Part of the Schneider Group sustainability investment is the set up of the Authentico Integrity Scheme for wool in Australia and New Zealand as well as cashmere in Mongolia. Furthermore the company runs its own Organic and RWS certified sheep farms in Patagonia. With these two sourcing models, the company can ensure full traceability back to the farm.

Willy Gallia has been working for the Schneider Group since 2006 and brings relevant experience from his previous position as Commercial & Sustainability Manager at Fuhrmann Argentina, part of the Schneider Group based in Trelew. Together with the Fuhrmann team, Willy oversaw the alignment of the farm management, processing mill and commercial sector with the overall vision obtaining organic wool certification and Responsible Wool Standard. Just recently, Willy conducted a Life Cycle Assessment for the Fuhrmann Argentina operation and offset the emissions to offer the first carbon-neutral wool tops in the market, a project that will be extended to the whole Schneider Group.

Willy is based in the Verrone office in Biella, Italy and will be looking to work closely with suppliers, customers and third-party organisations to ensure a sustainable and traceable supply chain from farm to product.

Young Talent

Meet our new Junior Trader for the Italian Market

Sara Monteleone

Already some months ago, on 15 April 2019, Sara Monteleone joined The Schneider Group as Junior Trader assisting in servicing all Italian based clients. Sara is being mentored by Claudio Ceria to learn the specifics of the wool trade while also working closely as part of the Trading team with CEO Jeffrey Losekoot and Marco Spina.

Despite not having a wool textile background, Sara became passionate about wool right after touring the Verrone wool combing mill for the first time. ‘I was surprised about the huge world there is behind wool and speciality fibres. When I had my first tour in the mill I was especially impressed by the way the greasy wool arrives and then becomes tops and open tops after the combing process”, Sara remembers her first day at work. Since then Sara has become an expert in giving tours around the mill for visiting clients as it helps her better understand the product she is selling.

As a young person entering the wool trade, Sara is also very much motivated to be working for a company putting an emphasis on sustainability and traceability. Sara concludes that “these are two key points in order to not only be relevant in the global market but especially for saving our planet”.

Sara is yet another young team member joining the Schneider Group. CEO Jeffrey Losekoot explains: “For us, at the Schneider Group, it is important to continue developing our product, our service, and our skills for a sustainable future for wool and with wool. Having young motivated members join our team is an important step in the process and we are happy to welcome Sara Monteleone on board.”

Sara is also based in the Verrone office in Biella and is available to all Italian customers inquiries.

Introducing the Authentico Index Values and Authentico Indicator

With the opening of the new wool season 2019/20, the Schneider Group is launching its new Index Values. The new so-called Authentico Index Values and Authentico Indicator will better reflect the current market demands and supply chain requirements.

At the Schneider Group, we decided to review the Schneider Market Indicator in order to provide market information that is reflective of our business which is constantly evolving.

The Authentico Index values and the Authentico Indicator consider only wool from farms who no longer mules and those who meet our Authentico Quality Scheme standards. The average indicators are derived from good performing fleece wool but include not only the very best lots but also a range of good performing top-making types that reflect our full range of client requirements. These new values and indicator are different from the previous Schneider index’s which included wool types that are no longer relevant to our client requirements and weren’t specific with regards to the welfare, sustainability and quality.

Like any index, the Authentico indicators are derived from a pool of types and do not reflect any specific wool type.

We have changed to this new system because we now have sufficient grower supply and we are extremely pleased with the level of interest in our quality and traceability scheme. These new indicators are a result of this high level of interest in Authentico and the types included in the indexes are reflective of the demand from our clients.

We are pleased to launch the first range of indexes and an indicator which are based on the best land, environmental, animal and human resource practices with a strong focus on wool quality.

The new Authentico Index Values and Authentico Indicator will be published for the first time within the Australian Weekly Market Report on Thursday 22nd August 2019 and will be also published here.

The use of liquid nitrogen as an alternative to mulesing

On 19 July 2019, the Schneider Group team based in Biella welcomed veterinary John Steinfort to learn first hand about his new method using liquid nitrogen as an alternative to mulesing. Mr. Steinfort is the inventor and promoter of the new sheep welfare process called ‘Sheep Freeze Brand’. We used the opportunity to speak with Mr. Steinfort directly to better understand the benefits of sheep freeze branding and answer the questions the wool supply chain has concerning the new method.

Why is Sheep Freeze Brand relevant to the wool industry?

With increasing consumer interest in animal welfare, many fashion brands and retailers have adjusted their sourcing requirements accordingly. This has led to a higher demand for mulesing-free wool exceeding the availability, especially for Australian non-mulesed wool. The Australian wool industry is working intensively on fading out the need to mules sheep through extensive breeding programmes. As these genetic programmes take time, it is important to develop other animal welfare solutions to ensure good welfare for sheep. Liquid nitrogen is one of these important developments.

What is the liquid nitrogen sheep breech method?

The method using liquid nitrogen called Sheep Freeze Brand, is a welfare improved alternative to mulesing. The goal of sheep freeze brand is similar to mulesing where excess skin at the rear of the sheep needs to be removed in order to prevent flystrike. Sheep freeze brand is performed through stapling the excess skin on the back of the sheep using an applicator and performing a cryogenic treatment in the affected area using liquid nitrogen. The freezing of that tissue lasts a few seconds and deactivates all nerve cells within the skin area. This ensures that the animal does not suffer in any way. The wrinkles present in the treated area are naturally absorbed without any discomfort to the animal.

Who developed the liquid nitrogen method?

Sheep freeze brand was developed by veterinary John Steinfort. Mr. Steinfort developed the concept of Sheep Freeze Brand (SFB) in 2008, imitating the freeze branding on racehorses and cattle. The process has been constantly tested and evolved and is now ready for commercial use.

Is the use of liquid nitrogen less painful than mulesing?

The sheep freeze brand procedure takes about 8 seconds – 4 applications of 2 seconds each. The procedure is very fast, so the animal will feel discomfort for about 4 seconds (one second for each application). The pain can be compared to a short stinging similar to when a wart on a finger or toe is removed with liquid nitrogen after which the skin then feels numb. In 2018, the method has been already tested on 25.000 lambs, followed by further applications in 2019. Compared to mulesing, growers observed a faster recovery of the lambs after the procedure by showing normal behaviour.

Are there more benefits of sheep freeze brand?

Trials to date have shown the faster growth rate of the lambs. The lambs under the sheep freeze brand trial have shown the post-procedure weight of the lambs improved at the same rate compared to lambs which were not mulesed. This indicates that the lamb was not under any stress or pain during the procedure. Under a standard mules (without pain relief) lambs have always initially had a weight set back due to the pain.

There is also an environmental benefit over a standard non-mulesed (NM) sheep. NM sheep remain at risk of flystrike and growers can face the necessity to use more chemical on the sheep to fight the fly. This is costly to the grower but also has a negative impact on the environment.

Finally, with the wool removed from around the breach, it can be expected that the wool quality will improve by reducing the risk of stain or coloured fibre entering into the wool clip. Less wool around the breach means less stain in the wool.

When is the liquid nitrogen method carried out?

The best time to carry out the practice is when the animal is still a lamb, in conjunction with the procedure of tail docking and castration. In addition, the procedure can make tail docking no longer necessary.

What are the costs of the liquid nitrogen method?

The process of sheep freeze brand costs $AUS 5 per lamb which is a much higher cost for growers compared to $AUS 1.20 for mulesing. However, trials have shown in the past, that lambs who have been sheep freeze branded grow on average 9% more wool compared to mulesed lambs. In addition, sheep freeze branded wool can be declared as non-mulesed or ceased mulesed and therefore may obtain a premium at auction.

How is sheep freeze branded wool being declared in the catalogue?

The Australian Wool Exchange (AWEX) has defined that wool originating from sheep who have been sheep freeze branded can be declared as non-mulesed (NM) or ceased mulesed (CM). This is based on the fact that no surgical cut is being made during the sheep freeze brand procedure.

Has the liquid nitrogen method been included in animal welfare standards?

As the procedure has only been released to the market recently, animal welfare standards such as RWS and ZQ have not yet recognised the process within their standard. Dr. Steinford and his team will seek further discussions with the standard holders to ensure well-informed decision can be made on whether or not to accept the method as a good welfare practice.
At the same time, there might also be concerns expressed by other wool growing countries who have benefitted from being mulesing-free.

Is pain relief needed for the procedure?

The pain caused by the liquid nitrogen method is not excessive. Experts and wool growers involved in the trials came to the conclusion that pain relief was not needed. However, further research is being undertaken to also test the method in conjunction with pain relief.

How is the market accepting the new method?

Large wool industry organisations such as the Australian Wool Innovation (AWI), Australian Wool Exchange (AWEX) and the International Wool Textile Organisation (IWTO) have accepted the method as a good alternative to mulesing and mulesing with pain relief to ensure good sheep welfare.
Brands and retailers who have their own animal welfare requirements are encouraged to study the new method and to read up on the available research. This will help to make an informed purchasing decision on whether or not to allow the sourcing of wool originating from sheep freeze branded lambs.

We hope you found this overview of the liquid nitrogen method useful. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us. We will be happy to help.


Image source: Chantel McAllister

Report from the OutDoor fair 2019

On 30 June to 3 July 2019, the European Outdoor Group organised its international OutDoor fair together with the ISPO fair organizers. OutDoor by ISPO is the annual exhibition for brands selling products catered to hiking, trail running, climbing, water sports or camping. This year the fair registered 1.018 exhibitors from 35 countries and more than 22.000 visitors from around 90 different countries. OutDoor by ISPO is smaller compared to the International Sports and Outdoor fair held at the beginning of each year but has some overlap of brands. Therefore, the Outdoor fair also had a lot of wool on display, more specifically merino wool as next to skin garments.

Sustainability is a must

One topic that was permanent within the whole fair was sustainability which has been recognised as a “must have” for the outdoor industry. There were many podium discussions and exhibitions about sustainability, but also many brands showcased their products made of recycled materials or natural fibres.

Individual brands within the outdoor industry have been leading the sustainability discussion on a wide array of topics for a long time but the topic seems to have now hit the mainstream. The reason for the outdoor industry to actively engage in sustainability is to their point of view pure common sense. If the outdoor environment is no longer enjoyable due to pollution and climate change, consumers will no longer have the desire to spend their time outdoors and therefore have no need for outdoor products.

Wool education is key

During the 4-day fair, the European Outdoor Group also organised educational talks and time for discussion on various topics including a full-day forum on wool. Different representatives from across the wool industry were invited to provide the latest updates on wool. The goal of the session was to educate brand representatives from the outdoor sector about wool for them to make more informed purchasing and design decisions when it comes to wool.

Dalena White from the International Wool Textile Organisation (IWTO) for example spoke about the severe drought situation across various wool growing countries and Elisabeth van Delden provided details about the latest research on wool Life Cycle Assessment. Company representatives from The Schneider Group, Fox & Lillie, Chargeurs, Ovis 21 and The Südwolle Group discussed their approach to more sustainability, traceability and transparency within their supply chains.

Questions from the brands during the discussion were detailed and well-informed showing that brands are devoted to understanding the complex issues and finding solutions jointly together with the wool industry. Topics on top of the brand’s minds concerned animal welfare, traceability, microfibres, superwash treatments as well as low wool prices for coarse wools. The discussions felt sincere and highly engaged. Brand representatives seemed eager to communicate and collaborate with the wool industry on driving change rather than only demanding change.

Wool has an active and important role to play for outdoor brands to reach their sustainability goals and it continues to be vital to actively engage, inform, communicate the collaborate with this part of the textile industry.

Now available: Carbon Neutral Wool

Create your own Carbon Neutral Wool Products

As of May 2019, the Schneider Group is offering Carbon Neutral Wool Tops. These wool tops are made of Argentinian wool and are processed in our mill in Trelew. In addition to being carbon neutral, these wooltops can also be organic and RWS certified. Carbon Neutral Wool Tops offers our clients the possibility to develop their own carbon neutral yarns, fabrics and wool textile products.  

Knowing our impact

At the Schneider Group, our goal is to constantly improve our environmental impact and improve our own internal processes wherever possible. To achieve this goal, an important step was to measure our impact. In 2018, we undertook a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of our operation in Argentina where we have the unique setup of managing our own farms and running our own processing mill. The Life Cycle Assessment was conducted by the well-known wool LCA industry expert Stephen Wiedemann and his team from Integrity Ag & Environment. You can read all about our LCA study here.

Offsetting our impact

Once we fully understood our environmental impact in the areas of CO2 and methane emissions as well as water and energy use we were able to define projects on where and how to improve our farms as well as our mill. Some of these projects will take some time and investment over the next couple of years. In the meantime, however, we already wanted to be able to reduce our impact. Based on the LCA, we now knew exactly what our carbon emissions in our Fuhrmann Argentina operation were. This has led us to the idea to offset our carbon emissions by investing in a carbon-neutral project.

We have partnered up with Numerco, the industry leader in the field of carbon offset, and have invested in a carbon neutral project in Uruguay. With this investment, we can now offer our customers carbon neutral wool and help them achieve their own climate goals.

If you are interested in our climate neutral wool tops or want to work with us on our climate neutral wool project, then feel free to contact us any time.