12 Jun 2009

Wool companies disagree over carpet standard

2:49 pm on 12 June 2009

Competing wool companies have disagreed about a breakthrough in getting a United States sustainability standard for carpets to include woollen as well as synthetic carpets.

Joint venture Wool partners International (WPI) says the main credit for the breakthrough should go to its technical manager, Al Ross, who spearheaded the drive to persuade US standards administrators to recognise wool as a sustainable carpet fibre.

WPI chief executive Ian Abercrombie says it puts wool on a level playing field with synthetics in being considered for use in commercial buildings in the United States.

He says this could have a big influence on how woollen carpets are treated in the commercial sector.

Elders Primary Wool Company, a competitor of Wool Partners International, credits AgResearch and the International Wool Textiles Organisation for much of the work in getting recognition for wool.

Elders managing director Stuart Chapman maintains it will be the only wool company able to meet the US sustainability certification standard for carpet because it has tracing technology developed by AgResearch to prove its sustainability.

Mr Abercrombie disputes this, saying a traceability scheme is not needed to benefit from the change.

However he says Wool Partners International will also have a tracing system in place well ahead of the launch of new carpet ranges in the United States and other markets early in 2010.