FABRIC TALK: ORGANIC WOOL
Organic wool comes from sheep who graze on land which is not treated with pesticides and are not dipped in pesticide baths.
Organic wool mostly comes from Australia and South-America.
Organic growers do not use any synthetic inputs but instead sustainable farming practices with a low impact on the environment. Organic wool is washed in organic biodegradable detergent and no chemicals are used. Lots of attention is paid to the health of the sheep and the use of hormones is prohibited, the same for mulesing; a skilled surgical task that involves the removal of strips of wool-bearing skin from around the breech (buttocks) of a sheep.
+ / –
Advantages of organic wool over regular wool is that it is better for the sheep, for the environment and for human health. The only disadvantage is that organic wool is more expensive than regular wool. First of all, labor costs are usually higher since the use of pesticides is avoided which automatically results in a more labor intensive production process. Second, the organic wool sector has to deal with certification costs. Furthermore, the organic wool business is still quite small compared to the conventional wool industry. This means that it cannot reach the efficiencies which the regular wool industry can. At last, overgrazing is not allowed and therefore the organic-wool farmers cannot easily increase the production per unit of land. This is another reason why they have to ask a higher for their products.