Woolkeepers® is an initiative held very near and dear to our hearts as it embraces the spirit of HD® Wool Apparel Insulation and the values our team believes in - a business community that supports evolutionary agriculture and transparency, and where everyone along the supply chain benefits and feels connected.
“Wool gives us something very valuable in our hands as it passes from the farmer all the way to the consumer. Each member across the supply chain has something they can treasure and look after, so in essence we are all keepers of wool, which is where the name Woolkeepers® came from.” Jo Dawson, Chairman H.Dawson and HD® Wool Apparel Insulation.
How Woolkeepers® Began
A quality assurance and traceability platform that nurtures relationships between shepherd, flock, wool, community and manufacturer to bring value back into British wool – the original performance fibre.
The team started meeting producers who were invested in a sustainable approach to commercial sheep farming, with the aim of producing premium product within an environmental framework centered around good animal husbandry, reducing routine antibiotic use, resting the land and supporting local biodiversity. Overtime these producers became our Woolkeepers® and friends as we learnt about a better way to do business within a united supply chain.
In 2019, H.Dawson and Brannach Olann created the Woolkeepers® initiative to develop a new wool sourcing model, which records the movement of materials from farm gate to the shop front. The programme guarantees that every farmer is paid a fair price, and that the custody of their wool remains safe in our hands. Working with producers from leading assurance schemes and established societies, The Woolkeepers® verify animal welfare through The Red Tractor Standards for Beef and Lamb, Organic farming certification, Ecological Outcome Verification and The Five Animal Freedoms.
These Five Freedoms are globally recognised pillars that uphold animal welfare encompassing both the mental and physical well-beingof the animals.
1. Freedom from hunger and thirst: Ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigor
2. Freedom from discomfort: By providing an appropriate environment including shelter and resting area
3. Freedom from pain, injury and disease: By providing a rapid diagnosis and treatment
4. Freedom to express normal and natural behavior: By providing a sufficient space, proper facilities and the company of the animals’ own kind
5. Freedom from fear and distress: By ensuring conditions and treatment that avoid mental suffering
A quality assurance platform that provides a sustainable route to market for wool growers whilst giving consumers and brands confidence in their buying choices through QR code verification and candid storytelling.
We are proud that our Woolkeepers® community has grown to dynamic group of over 600 farmers in the UK! Through our network, which is overseen by Ali Atkins, our Sustainable Brand Manager, the wool from these farmers is supplied to manufacturers that handle British wool to make the finest sustainable - and now traceable products. These producers include Hypnos luxury mattresses and beds, and through our HD® Wool Apparel Insulation business, leading outdoor and fashion brands will also be producing garments with our traceable wool.
We are all Woolkeepers®
Being mindful of the wool products we buy and care for
As our founder, Jo Dawson, stated - we are all wool keepers as the wool passes through the value chain from the farmer all the way to the consumer. Through our established Woolkeepers® programme, we offer a complete solution to meet the growing demand among brands, retailers and consumers for natural fibres and traceability. We do this by supporting responsible farming and animal welfare, paying a fair price for wool, and nurturing a community of growers on the journey of regenerative agriculture - a sustainability initiative top of mind among many, and one we’ll be sharing on our blog very soon!