Stuart McCullough, CEO of the not-for-profit owned by Australia’s woolgrowers, said in drafting the strategic plan for 2019 through to 2022, AWI incorporated feedback and input from the industry to ensure it reflected woolgrower priorities for research, development and marketing.
“As always, AWI’s overriding commitment is to support Australian woolgrowers and ensure they get the best price for their wool,” McCullough said. “But through the consultation process, we have been able to home in some priorities that woolgrowers believe will make a big difference to the industry over the next three years.”
The Review of Performance report for 2018 conducted by Ernst & Young was also instrumental in forming the new strategic plan, McCullough noted. Outlining its priorities, he said AWI has launched a number of projects focused on traceability during the past five years.
“These 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 recognize that Generation Ys and Generation Zs are going to be more interested in the source of materials 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. We see this as a macro-consumer trend.”
The first stage of the traceability journey is AWI’s WoolQ project designed to offer clean digital data straight from the farm. Research projects have also been conducted on fiber traceability and the ability to identify, in a garment form, where that fiber came from.
McCullough said AWI had reviewed its consultation model and the strategic plan set out new arrangements, and the Industry Consultative Committee (ICC) has been replaced by the Woolgrower Industry Consultation Panel and Woolgrower Consultation Group.
“Effective, accountable and productive consultation is essential to the success of AWI’s new strategic plan to ensure we identify woolgrower priorities and report on our activities,” McCullough said. “In reporting on the company’s activities, in consultation with the former ICC, we have developed a measurement and evaluation framework to provide measurable and quantifiable returns on woolgrower and government funds.
The implementation of this framework is expected to enable AWI to sustainably measure and evaluate programs, projects and investments. During the next strategic stage, measurement and evaluation will be embedded into each of AWI’s business areas.
McCullough added that AWI is aware of the ongoing impact of the drought and its influence on wool production levels.
“With reduced production, coupled with a 1.5 percent wool levy, we have strategically targeted investments and managed a draw down on our reserves to enhance the profitability, international competitiveness to increase demand and market access for Australian wool,” he said.