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Fibres/​Yarns/​Fabrics

John Lewis 100% traceable new wool mattress range

Aim is to prevent waste, support farmers and re-establish wool as a highly sought after and widely used commodity.

27th August 2021

Innovation in Textiles
 |  United Kingdom

Sustainable, Interiors

In partnership with suppliers Hypnos, H.Dawson and Dalehead, John Lewis is launching a new range of mattresses that for the first time ever, will be made with wool provided by Waitrose sheep farmers.

Once a highly valued commodity in the UK, wool has been under-utilised for decades, with the price offered not even covering the cost of shearing, let alone transportation, the company says. This has led to hundreds of thousands of tons of high quality British wool being wasted for decades, with farmers being forced to burn or bury it after shearing.

This issue is not common knowledge among British shoppers, with two-thirds (66%) claiming to be unaware farmers were having to burn their wool. But showing they care, over half (52%) said they’d be happy to pay more for products that use British wool, with 41% saying they’d be prepared to pay between 5-10% more and a third saying they’d pay as much as 20% more.

Now, by partnering with Waitrose’s long serving sheep farmers, the highly sustainable and natural fibre will once again be put to good use, in a move the John Lewis Partnership hopes will raise awareness of the issue, drive demand for British wool and in doing so, raise its value for the benefit of sheep farmers all over the UK.

“Wool used to sustain entire economies but it has declined in value so dramatically that British farmers are now in some cases having to dump it,” said Jake Pickering, senior agriculture manager at Waitrose. “We are in a fortunate position in running a partnership that operates both a supermarket and a home department store, so we saw an opportunity to make a difference to our farmers and the environment by ensuring the quality wool they’re producing is not wasted. We hope that in doing this, we will raise awareness of this issue and restore British wool’s status as the highly valued and high quality British commodity it used to be.”

Patrick Loxdale, one of the farmers involved in the initiative, added: “The wool market has been tough for a long time and now, with exports to China halted because of the pandemic, it’s even tougher. My hope is this initiative will kickstart a resurgence in interest in British wool. We’ve been farming in Aberystwyth for 250 years and if I have anything to do about it, we’ll be farming here for another 250 years.”

 “As well as making comfortable beds, it’s becoming increasingly important to the public that what they’re buying is not only economically sustainable, but socially and environmentally sustainable too, and wool ticks all these boxes,” said Richard Naylor, sustainable development director at Hypnos. “Wool is natural, renewable and fully biodegradable so great for the environment, and it is also extremely comfortable thanks to its temperature regulating and breathable qualities – meaning people can sleep easier for many reasons.”

www.johnlewis.com

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