This week The New Zealand Merino Company and global Merino wool apparel and footwear brands Allbirds, icebreaker and Smartwool announced they are working collectively with 167 sheep growers to create the world’s first regenerative wool platform ZQRX.
Doing their part to tackle the impact of the global fashion industry on the environment which is responsible for 10% of annual greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, regenerative farming practices represent a considerable opportunity to store carbon and reduce emissions, improve biodiversity (waste, water quality and soil health), and ensure animal welfare and social responsibility.
The New Zealand Merino Company established an ethical wool platform named ZQ 13 years ago with assistance from icebreaker and Smartwool. Building on this success, the new regenerative wool platform ZQRX is being applied to 167 farms in new Zealand which represents over two million acres of land.
ZQRX rewards the value of growers who are committed to regenerative agricultural practices, and “is the start of a global movement toward brands, businesses and growers working together to address critical global issues such as climate change and biodiversity loss. We dream of a day when all wool is farmed with regenerative practices”, says John Brakenridge, CEO of The New Zealand Merino Company.
And of course, to generate a movement of this scale, some of the Merino wool industry’s most iconic brands Allbirds, icebreaker and Smartwool have set aside their competitive nature to work collectively in order to address the immediate challenges of climate change. Combining together, the three brands represent approximately 2 million kgs of wool.
Collaboration and hands-on change is key to solve the climate crisis. Last year, Adidas and Allbirds announced a collaborative project to create a sports performance shoe with the lowest carbon footprint ever recorded. And closer to home, New Zealand designer Maggie Marilyn is no longer wholesaling to retailers, changing the brand’s inventory ratios to purchase more from her growers to support them into transitioning to regenerative agriculture.
“ZQRX is the next ‘better’ way and an important advancement in moving our industry forward. By working together we can affect change at scale”, says Jen McLaren, Smartwool Brand President.
Visit discoverzq.com for more information.