Regenerative Wool Shaking Up the Textile Industry
At the IWTO event this year, Chris presented in tandem with the Savory Hub leader in South Africa, Rolf Pretorius. In addition to presenting, Chris and Rolf met with individuals representing all areas of the wool supply chain to discuss the excitement around our new outcome-based Ecological Outcome Verification, and subsequent Land To Market program. Rolf has been a very active participant in this emerging program and is set up as one of our prototype Hubs to lead this initiative in this region. He works closely with both commercial ranchers and community farmers in the region.
Chris also got the opportunity to visit BKB, a wool broker and auction house. BKB is the largest aggregator in the country and markets 62% of the country’s wool. South Africa has a long history raising quality wool and was the first country outside Europe to own Merinos. This history dates back as far as 1789, when the Netherlands government donated two Spanish Merino rams and four Spanish Merino ewes to a military commander there to experiment with. Today, it is one of the largest wool growing regions for the apparel industry with about 15 million merino sheep (see Bloomberg article).
To top all of that off, when the sheep are managed properly they can play an amazing role in sequestering carbon, restoring watersheds, restoring wildlife habitat and reversing climate change. Our ecological outcome verification is quantifying that positive impact across landscapes and helping brands access wool from lands that are verifiably regenerating. We at Savory are incredibly excited to see the kinds of collaborative projects developing in South Africa and look forward to many years of fruitful projects, centered around wool, emerging in that region.