Icebreaker Has Created The World’s First Regenerative Wool Platform

by: Well Made Clothes Staff | 2 weeks ago | Features

Image: from the ZQ Merino wool website.



We’ve mentioned that the future of environmental sustainability in fashion is less about reducing bad environmental outcomes and more about creating positive ones. Which is where regenerative agriculture, and the world's first regenerative wool standard founded by Icebreaker called ZQrx, comes in.

Very briefly, regenerative agriculture is, as Greenpeace says, “farming with the environment, not against it.” This involves practices like crop rotation and intercropping (i.e. planting multiple types of crops close together), which improve soil health over time, sequestering carbon in the soil and reducing erosion. It also means that farmers are not using toxic fertilisers and pesticides, and are not tilling or are tilling less, which helps soil retain more water, organic matter, and potentially more carbon too. (Read more about the specifics of regenerative agriculture over on Greenpeace’s website, here).

The New Zealand Merino Company (NZM) wool sneaker brand Allbirds, Icebreaker, and Smartwool have joined forces to launch the world’s first regenerative wool platform, called ZQrx.

ZQrx is an extention of the ZQ wool certification established by Icebreaker and Smartwool 13 years ago, which ensures the highest environmental and animal rights standards are met through their wool supply chain, from the farm to the shop floor, and represents just 1% of wool produced globally.

Working with 167 wool growers across New Zealand, the group of companies have committed to sourcing wool from ZQrx certified growers, and working with them to implement regenerative practices and monitor the impact of these practices – particularly with regards to their reduction of carbon emissions – through the strict ZQrx framework.

The ZQrx index measures improvements against a set of 15 key indicators or metrics spanning animal welfare, environmental integrity and social responsibility. Growers are first baselined, recognising their current understanding and efforts in each of these indicators and are monitored on how their performance improves over time.

Speaking to Idealog, Tim Brown, co-founder of Allbirds, said of ZQrx: “With ZQrx, we are backing a movement towards a truly regenerative future, one that prioritises the planet and supports our unwavering pursuit to make better things in a better way.”

Conveniently (we planned that), new Icebreaker loungewear, made in a transparent supply chain from ZQ-certified Merino wool has arrived, for all our comfort requirements this winter.

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