When buying wool or fibre products don’t be afraid to ask the maker or producer about the provenance of their raw materials and manufacturing processes.
The ability to let consumers know exactly where their fibre comes from is dependent on good systems and processes being in place. This is easier for small businesses. They can often say exactly which farms their wool, for example, comes from, as well as the precise processes used in production through to the finished article. Nevertheless it is possible for large suppliers to do this as well.
Most bulk wool buying in the UK is sourced through British Wool’s wool auctions with the help of a wool merchant. Though British Wool are able to tell you the type of wool (e.g. lustre longwool or rough fell wool) the provenance of the wool, including precise breed of sheep, is lost after grading.
OneHutFull hopes to conduct a research programme in collaboration with Exeter University looking at improving traceability through the industry, including large suppliers.
Also see our questions and comments on mindful farming and land management.