Shifting consumer attitudes, how to overcome challenges posed by the pandemic and global opportunities are on the agenda as Australian Wool Innovation looks to put together its next three-year strategic plan.
The last AWI three-year strategic plan is due to expire at the end of June with work to take place over the coming months to pull together the next one.
AWI acting CEO John Roberts said not only was AWI about to enter its next strategic period, the world was hopefully coming out of the pandemic.
"It's quite timely to be coming out of a pandemic and really say 'what do we think the world is going to look life when we finally come out the other end of this thing and what are our priorities going to be?'" he said.
"We know what our levy is, we know what level of funding we have and it's about prioritising."
Among the post-COVID trends set to shape the strategy is the increasing casualisation of clothing.
"We know that even before COVID-19 that people were less likely to wear a suit," Mr Roberts said.
"COVID-19 has probably expedited that to a point now where people are probably going to wear even less formal suiting so a big area for us is understanding what that consumer is going to buy and probably getting wool into less tailored textiles and into more technical applications... knitwear, base layers, outer shell, transit wear, commuter wear.
"That's probably a big area of focus for us in terms of product development and marketing."
He said while the consumer base was currently dominated by Generation Y, within the next ten years that would shift to Generation Z so it was important to understand what that cohort wants in their garments.
"A big priority for them is sustainability so I think we're also going to focus on wool's sustainable characteristics," he said.
"The stars have aligned very well for us because the world wants a renewable fibre, which is exactly what wool is."
Part of that focus on wool's eco-credentials will include working to combat the product environmental footprint labelling laws in Europe, which could put wool at a disadvantage by failing to account for how synthetic fabrics release microplastics.
"We want to get it right in Europe because these things do tend to drift into different geographies," Mr Robert said.
On a domestic level, addressing the shearer shortage by training and retaining the workforce is a key priority.
AWI has begun building the framework for the new strategic plan, with it expected to be complete in the next three to four months.
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