Federated Farmers is keeping what it calls a watching brief on an Australian attempt to measure and claim the carbon credits for the wool carried on every sheep's back.
The Wool Carbon Alliance aims to gain recognition of wool's ability to store carbon and to use this to promote the fibre to consumers who want to do their bit to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
It says half the content of wool is carbon dioxide captured from the atmosphere. It calculates that each kilogram of greasy wool stores about 1.3kg of CO2.
As well as being a natural carbon store, the alliance says, wool is produced from a sustainable grassland system that also has the capacity to sequester carbon.
While the science behind the concept is still being debated, Federated Farmers says any advantage that the depressed wool industry can claim is worth investigating.
If it proves to be true, meat and fibre chair Bruce Wills says, it would represent a carbon store of 64,000 tonnes walking around New Zealand farms - and that would help offset the negative aspects of the Emissions Trading Scheme for sheep farmers.