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Wool Stocktake : AWI Annual Report 2015-16
STRATEGIC TARGETS (continued) Targets for three-year period 2013/14 to 2015/16 Progress during 2015/16 New Target: International collaborative effort with IWTO on Wool Lifecycle Analysis (LCA): • Complete research into co-product allocation rules for wool lifecycle analysis and publish in a relevant peer reviewed journal • Complete a journal publication on use-phase and post-use phase components of the wool lifecycle • Ensure the wool industry is represented in BSI, FAO LEAP and SAC, MADE-BY LCA standard and fibre rating tool technical processes. Achieved. The listed papers were published during 2014/15 with significant engagement with apparel environmental ratings agencies such as SAC, FAO, BSI, and Made-By during 2015/16 to encourage the adoption of improved methodologies in their ratings tools. KEY RESULTS DURING 2015/16 Wool processing improvements • Wool is a natural, resilient and ultimately biodegradable fibre, however raw wool contains substantial amounts of natural pollutants (about 40% by weight) that require scouring for contaminant removal prior to downstream processing. Contaminants dispersed in the scouring effluent include dirt, residual grease (lanolin) and a high level of chemical oxygen demand (COD). The guidelines for disposal of this effluent in processing countries are becoming increasingly tight. AWI- funded research at Deakin University has generated new techniques which have demonstrated the potential for significant contaminant reductions. The improvements have been proven at laboratory and pilot scale levels but are yet to be verified at industry scale in commercial plants. During 2015/16 the trial results were presented to industry in China for consideration of industry-scale trialing. Wool Lifecycle Analysis (LCA) • A paper published by AWI’s Wool LCA Technical Advisory Group proposing improved methodology for wool LCAs where wool is produced alongside meat is leading to better reporting of wool’s environmental performance. The environmental ratings agency the Sustainable Apparel Coalition has accepted the paper’s recommendation for allocating greenhouse gas impact on the basis of protein mass rather than the economic value of wool and meat, as currently used. The impact of this methodology change will be to reduce the carbon footprint of the on-farm stage for fine wool production by approximately 35%, which in turn reduces the size of the full lifecycle (all life stages) by 17%. • A document, ‘Guidelines for conducting a life cycle assessment of the environmental performance of wool textiles’, providing technical guidance for undertaking a wool LCA has been finalised and is being published on the IWTO website. This technical guidance is intended for use by LCA practitioners, with the objective of achieving more accurate and consistent methods and reporting for wool’s environmental performance. • A non-technical discussion paper has been written outlining why LCA of natural fibres, and particularly wool, is complex and why results can be inaccurate. It will be published in a prominent industry magazine such as Ecotextile News. The paper aims to raise awareness that reported LCA results for wool should not be taken at face value and that LCA indexes cannot currently reflect all of wool’s positive characteristics. • Two studies are under way to help address the data gap for consumer use of wool apparel. The use phase is an environmental strength for wool garments due to the lower need for washing and machine drying than other fibre types, as well as wool’s longer life. Whilst a strength, it remains a challenge to obtain reliable and representative data reflecting consumer use of wool. • A study on recycling of a wool sweater is under way. This case study has been devised to examine how to more accurately include the benefits of second use of wool fibres in wool LCA. • Knowledge gaps exist on the environmental impact of aspects of the wool processing supply chain. Three early stage wool processors have volunteered their data to provide up-to-date information to help fill the critical data shortages. Some gaps remain in later-stage processing and options for filling these are being explored. Publications • Resource use and greenhouse gas emissions from three wool production regions in Australia. Stephen Wiedemann, Beverley Henry. Accepted for publication in the Journal of Cleaner Production. • Review of wool recycling and reuse. Stephen Russell, Paul Swan, Mariell Trebowicz, Angus Ireland. Published in Natural Fibres: Advances in Science and Technology Towards Industrial Applications (pp. 415-428). Springer Netherlands. • Critical review of the state of knowledge relating to linkages between wool production and biodiversity status of land used for rearing apparel wool sheep. Kerry Bridle, Perpetua Turner. • Guidelines for conducting a life cycle assessment of the environmental performance of wool textiles. Beverley Henry, Stewart Ledgard, Barbara Nebel, Stephen Wiedemann. REPORT OF 2015/16 OPERATIONS – OFF-FARM R&D 29
AWI Annual Report 2014-15
AWI Annual Report 2016-17