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Wool Stocktake : AWI Annual Report 2016-17
CEO’S REPORT The 2016/17 year was the first year covered by the three-year 2016/19 AWI Strategic Plan, and I am pleased to report to woolgrowers that the company this year made significant progress in its endeavours to achieve the targets in the Plan. The Plan was developed by AWI in consultation with woolgrowers and other stakeholders to ensure AWI is meeting the needs of industry. Throughout its three- year business cycle, AWI continues to consult widely with woolgrowers and stakeholders through forums including the Woolgrower Industry Consultative Committee (ICC) and attendance at regional field days and industry events. As per the voting at the 2015 WoolPoll, we stated in the Strategic Plan that AWI would invest 60% in marketing and 40% in R&D, and I am happy to announce that our investments in the first year covered by the new Plan resulted in almost exactly that ratio, specifically a 61% and 39% split. I said in my report last year that my aim going forward was to ensure that the EMI is sustained in the short-term above 1,200c/kg and increases even further in the future. So I am delighted that in 2016/17 we have achieved an average price of more than 1,400c/kg which has been financially rewarding for many woolgrowers. We hope that these prices can be sustained over the long-term to reward the hard work and loyalty that growers have demonstrated to the fibre. Importantly the gross value of production has lifted from $1.9 billion in 2009/10 to $3.3 billion in 2016/17 and, with prices in this range, $3.5 billion in 2017/18. I believe the strong prices are due to a consistent and steady long-term shift in consumer sentiment towards the fibre and appreciation for its premium natural qualities. Marketing Our Marketing portfolio has partnered with many world- renowned brands and invested in targeted campaigns – through both traditional and digital channels – to help create demand for Australian wool amongst consumers in key markets across the world, and thereby increase returns to woolgrowers. This has been undertaken during 2016/17 under the new management structure introduced in March 2016 overseeing our international offices – with two new General Manager roles regionally segmented into the Western Hemisphere and Eastern Hemisphere. As well as our menswear and womenswear fashion programs, a key part of AWI’s marketing strategy is to place a large focus on increasing Merino wool’s presence in the sports and outdoor market. We have been increasingly collaborating with leading manufacturers and brands in these sectors to promote the natural benefits of wool as a performance fibre, and we shall continue to do so because there is still further significant potential for the fibre in these sectors and also in the increasing market for ‘athleisure’. Australian wool has a wonderful and authentic story to tell, so it is pleasing and not surprising that the source of Australian wool and the stories of the woolgrowers that grow the fibre are increasingly being used by industry partners in their marketing to consumers. The interest in the International Woolmark Prize from fashion communities and media globally continues to be phenomenal which is important to help increase the global demand for Australian wool. It is helping put wool back on the agendas of fashion designers across the world, and consequently into retail stores for consumers to purchase. The Campaign for Wool, which aims to raise awareness about the unique, natural, renewable and biodegradable benefits offered by the fibre, has continued to reconnect consumers with its myriad uses – from luxurious fine Merino wool apparel through to beautiful hardwearing interior products for the home. Research and Development Investment by AWI in on-farm R&D has continued to deliver a range of targeted tools, skills and knowledge to help woolgrowers improve their on-farm productivity and profitability. For example, Lifetime Ewe Management training has been extensively funded by AWI to help increase producers’ understanding of the influence of ewe nutrition and management on overall reproduction rates and lamb and ewe survival. The Merino Lifetime Productivity is a major project that aims to increase the understanding of the genetics, and economic interactions, of a diverse range of Merino types delivering high quality wool, lambs and meat through life. In the area of wild dog control, the total number of current and past control groups supported by AWI has risen to 160, comprising 43 current groups. For 12 years now AWI has increased the investment in projects to identify a practical and effective alternative to mulesing. AWI is the only company globally doing any work in this important space and we remain committed completely. In the off-farm R&D area, published research funded by AWI has demonstrated that wearing superfine Merino wool next to the skin is therapeutic for those suffering from eczema. This adds to a growing number of research findings supporting the health and wellbeing benefits of wool products. Overall in 2016/17, AWI invested $71 million in 398 projects with 140 partners. I am very proud of the progress that AWI has made during the year and I am confident that we can build on these gains into the future. Stuart McCullough CEO, Australian Wool Innovation 1 September 2017 UP FRONT 9
AWI Annual Report 2015-16
AWI Annual Report 2017-18