The Story of the SustainaWOOL Integrity Scheme

Created through collaboration of some of the world’s leading wool processors and specialist wool growers and buyers, in 2015 SustainaWOOL was established as a mechanism to educate the wool-consuming-world to understand that its raw material suppliers (wool producers or growers) take the utmost care of their animals, their clip preparation responsibilities, and the environment.

Thrown fleece

Independent, ISO-certified, and industry operated, SustainaWOOL exists to support businesses throughout the wool pipeline

Mark Grave, AWEX CEO

SustainaWOOL provides benchmark sustainability standards within the wool production systems of Australia and provides integrity and traceability from the individual grower farm – for the benefit of wool growers, processors, brands, retailers, and ultimately consumers.


  • encourages the close communication between wool growers and those who purchase and process their product, which must always be built on foundations of transparency, trust, mutual benefit, and shared commitment to grow demand for our products.
  • recognises the need for the Australian industry to move away from painful practices such as mulesing, and provides encouragement and support for growers on that pathway, recognising that the best possible welfare outcome for the animal must always remain paramount.
  • recognises that sustainability is not just about breech modification practice, and provision of effective pain relief is required where breech modification procedures still need to be applied to individual sheep in the interests of its health and welfare – the wool from these sheep must be separately identified and certified under our SustainaBLUE standard.

SustainaWOOL has grown rapidly to become one of the world’s largest wool sustainability assurance schemes, with close to 1,000 certified wool grower suppliers and a rapidly growing number of Supply Chain Partners around the globe. Over 10% of Australia’s Merino clip is now produced by SustainaWOOL-certified growers.

The Scheme is voluntary for growers and supply chain partners and is monitored closely for ongoing compliance.

Our Integrity System

There are 3 key elements of the SustainaWOOL Integrity Scheme:

  1. Independence – as an independent, not-for-profit wool integrity systems service provider, AWEX has no financial interest in wool production or sales proceeds. AWEX has achieved ISO9001-2015 certification for SustainaWOOL, reflecting our commitment to the highest standards of independence, transparency, and conduct.
  2. Integrity – our integrity system is both innovative and comprehensive.
    1. Growers participating in the SustainaWOOL Integrity Scheme must renew their certification each year, and are subject to mandatory desktop audit, and random on-farm audit – up to 20% of certified growers farms are inspected each year by specialist farm inspectors as part of AWEX’s ISO-certified farm inspection service.
    2. Every sale lot of wool offered for sale at public auction by our growers is subject to prior inspection by skilled AWEX wool appraisers, and only those lots which meet AWEX ‘P-certification’ standards are eligible to be identified to prospective buyers as SustainaWOOL-certified.
    3. All SustainaWOOL Supply Chain Partners must demonstrate compliance with our product certification requirements, in order to utilise our trademarked logos, and to receive SustainaWOOL Consignment Certifications.
  3. Scope – SustainaWOOL offers interested brands, retailers and processing partners access to a large volume of wool certified to international standards, as well as the option of specify whether they source from enterprises who have ceased to mules their sheep (SustainaWOOL®) or from those who are on the journey to phase out the practice (SustainaBlue®)
SustainaWOOL<sup>TM</sup> appraiser
SustainaWOOL<sup>TM</sup> appraiser


Transparency and traceability gives organisations throughout the supply chain the confidence in the integrity of fibre delivered to them under this Scheme.

The Scheme provides additional traceability for end-users, in conjunction with the existing systems to trace a bale back to the producer such as the National Wool Declaration, the registered Farm Brand and Stencil, the Classers Specification provided by the grower to their respective broker, and the regulations already in place involved in testing/sampling and displaying (showing) of wool for sale. Countermarking, documentation and various systems in place in the transport, dumping, packing and exporting of the bales allows the integrity of purchased wool to be upheld.

The SustainaWOOL Integrity Scheme also allows suppliers to nominate their ability to trace individual animals on their property, demonstrating an even deeper level of care and also a responsibility towards high quality management of their flocks. It is a requirement for accreditation that all sheep on the property be identified with a secure form of individual identification and that mobs are routinely monitored and their location on the farm known and documented.

Electronic unique Bale-ID, through the introduction of a unique RFID & Barcode on each wool pack, provides the ultimate in traceability. This feature will enable the wool bale to be viewed as it progresses through the supply chain from farm to first processor – with absolute confidence.

Accreditation requires a National Wool Declaration (NWD) be completed covering every bale of wool to be offered for sale. This verifies that there is full traceability under the AWEX NWD Scheme for Mulesing Status and Dark and Medulated Fibre.

Our Standards

We recognise that sustainable wool production is not just about what happens to the bottoms of lambs.

Are you GREEN?

The SustainaWOOL certified non-mulesed standard


This standard identifies those growers who do not mules (ceased or never mulesed).


The SustainaWOOL certified welfare-assured standard


This standard identifies those growers who still modify the breech (by any method) of their sheep and use effective analgesia and/or anaesthesia when doing so.

A Gift to Industry

Industry ownership and operation

In July 2019 New England Wool and its’ shareholders have gifted the SustainaWOOL program to AWEX to ensure the continual growth and international recognition of the scheme for the benefit of the wool supply chain.

…with the wool consumer increasingly demanding a higher level of traceability along the pipeline of the production system from which they buy, SustainaWOOL under the guidance of AWEX can now provide the Australian wool industry with a single, reputable and independent scheme to promote the wonderful, high quality, sustainably produced, clean and green fibre – which is Australian wool.

Andrew Blanch, the creator of SustainaWOOL and Managing Director of New England Wool
Loaded truck

SustainaWOOL has become a strong foundation for Australian wool producers to promote their product to the world and gain access to premium markets.

Mark Grave, CEO AWEX said that the textile market is very competitive, and AWEX is aware of the importance of getting this transition right and providing a scheme that caters for the needs of the market now, and into the future.

AWEX programs such as the Code of Practice for Wool Preparation and the National Wool Declaration Integrity Program are recognised and respected globally. SustainaWOOLTM is an extension of these and we are excited and proud to take this on.

Mark Grave, AWEX CEO

AWEX was the natural answer to our project and the Australian wool producers deserve it. We are very proud that we can provide the wool industry with this gift.

Francesco Botto Poala, COO of Successori Reda

AWEX has received overwhelming encouragement and support from the wider wool community to provide the Australian wool industry with a single, rigorously audited sustainability scheme that is independently owned and operated.

Globally, customers of wool are demanding evidence of sustainability through independent and credible integrity programs.

We have been working hard for four years in order to build the most important integrity scheme in the world. It is an independent powerful system that brings added value, not only to the Australian wool industry, but the whole supply chain. SustainaWOOL is indeed one of the strongest support structures for the modern green world.

Alessandro Barberis Canonico, CEO of Vitale Barberis Canonico