Wool for Climate & Nature
The World Resources Institute’s Roadmap to Net Zero in the Apparel Sector revealed that 39% of emissions in the fashion supply chain are emitted at the farm and raw material processing stages. As fashion brands focus on meeting their net zero carbon and nature positive commitments, they must address the materials they use and their sourcing supply chains.
Wool has had a long and impactful history in the UK. In medieval England wool was the most common material used in clothing, and production of wool from the farm to the mill and processing levels played an important role in the Industrial Revolution. While there are still roughly 30 million sheep in the UK, after WWII the emphasis has shifted from sheep as a diverse income stream from wool, meat, and skins, to commercial farming focused on meat production. Most wool fibre produced in the UK today is used in household textiles such as carpets instead of clothing. As a result, wool supply chains in the UK are fragmented.
There is a growing interest among artisans and craft makers in the UK to revitalise traditional wool production techniques and activate supply networks focused on sustainable wool garment production. Synthetic fibres account for nearly 60% of materials in today’s clothing, while wool comprises just over 1%. Consumer preferences and higher production costs contribute to this difference.
Pilio is working to increase demand in sustainable fashion for wool textile fibres from farms implementing regenerative agricultural practices. We aim to demonstrate the environmental, economic, social, and cultural opportunities presented by wool fibre production. To generate demand, Pilio is developing a wool product activating a local and sustainable supply network.
Pilio is leading on a number of innovative projects to activate the adoption of renewable energy solutions and regenerative agricultural practices in communities producing natural fibres. One of these is Pilio’s Wool for Climate & Nature.
Developing a wool production network
Pilio is developing Wool for Climate & Nature to connect the wool supply chain from farmers to brands to create a wool product while demonstrating the environmental benefits of regenerative sheep farming.
Pilio is currently scoping this project and working alongside UK farmers. As a member of Textile Exchange and Pasture Fed Livestock Association, Pilio will share the learnings from this project with the wider fashion and farming communities to ensure it can be scaled and replicated.
Our work in 2022
To develop Wool for Climate & Nature Pilio is undertaking the following activities in 2022:
Market analysis on UK wool and sustainable fashion
Engagement with the emergent interest in rebuilding the wool market from brands to farmers, processors, and craft makers to activate a sustainable supply network
Demonstrate the value of wool fibre and learn best practices through production and marketing of a prototype wool product
Calculate the carbon footprint of the project in order to ensure sustainability claims are backed by science and metrics
Develop a 2023 exploitation plan to use Pilio's learning in this project towards scaling sustainable wool production processes