Traceability high priority in AWI's new strategic plan

Traceability high priority in AWI's new three-year strategic plan

Stuart McCullough said AWI didn't plan to completely redefine the strategy, but it is shaping up that way.

Stuart McCullough said AWI didn't plan to completely redefine the strategy, but it is shaping up that way.


Traceability will be high on the agenda in AWI's eagerly awaited new three-year strategic plan.


Australian Wool Innovation's (AWI) strategic plan for the next three years is expected to be finalised in the coming weeks, with traceability highlighted a major investment priority.

AWI CEO Stuart McCullough said he expects the new plan to be released officially by mid to end June, with a requirement for it to be in government hands by the end of the fiscal year.

"In drafting the strategic plan, AWI consulted widely with woolgrowers and their representatives to ensure industry views and priorities were incorporated into the final plan," Mr McCullough said.

"We didn't plan to completely redefine the strategy, but it is shaping up that way with some significant changes being made."

In January AWI convened a strategic planning workshop attended by woolgrower representatives from 25 groups.

The primary purpose of this workshop was to gather an understanding of woolgrower priorities to guide AWI's research, development and marketing activities for the next three years.

When outlining some of the high priority subjects, Mr McCullough said the key change in the strategic plan was traceability.

"We have had a number of projects going ahead in this space over the last five years, but now those projects are at a point of maturity, and we have enough of them where we can create an entire strategy around traceability," he said.

"We recognise that generation Y's and generation Z's are going to be more interested in this in the future. They will want to know where something has come from, how it was treated, what the supply chain did with it and where it is going to at the end.

"AWI see's this as a macro-consumer trend."

The first stage of the traceability journey is AWI's WoolQ project which was designed to offer clean digital data straight from the farm.

AWI have since developed a self-declaration digital edge app to compliment WoolQ which can record all the best practice duties that are performed on-farm.

"Mulesing is highly spoken about, so that will be covered through the National Wool Declarations (NWDs). But there is also all the other aspects including landcare, animal welfare, farm safety and best practice strategies," Mr McCullough said.

"Once we have that information we can then use block-chain technology to send that information as a ledger of truth up the supply chain, all the way into the hands of the consumer."

Research projects have also been conducted on fibre traceability and the ability to identify, in a garment form, where that fibre came from.

At the other end of the supply chain, near-field communication (NFC) information tags will implemented into garments.

"Swing tags are not going to hold enough information for the consumer in the future," Mr McCullough said.

"Consumers will be able to swipe their phone over a garment and have not only the provenance story come up on their phone, but potentially they will be able to go back to the farm where it came from. This is something we believe the consumer of the future is going to want to see."

Other main changes will be the digitalisation of the company including agri-technology with the final aim to help graziers manage their flocks with less resources.

"We see this as a big thing in the future, not only for sheep producers, but all farmers," Mr McCullough said.

"When marketing the company intends to communicate more interestingly and thoroughly through digital streams.

"These are the three main points that AWI have identified as being items that need more focus heading into the future."


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