What 'ethical' wool really means

Updated: Sep 22


Sometimes it can feel like the world and their dog claim to be sustainable and ethical and can feel a bit crowded or unclear when you're trying to decide what brands to support.


So we thought we'd clarify what it means for ZQ...


Since 2007, we pride ourselves on being the world's leading ethical wool.


But what is ethical?


Stemming from the Greek word ethos, it refers to one's "character" and "morals". In today's society, when we see a person or their behaviour as "moral", they're being authentic, fair, and honest.


This is what we strive for in ethical wool; to be authentic, honest and do the right thing by the animals, people and planet.

This also means adapting to changes in the world and working to continuously improve behaviours, based on new knowledge.


For our growers, it can look like:

  • Caring for all their animals (not just sheep!) in a way that supports their normal behaviours and provides a healthy, natural life - think minimal human interaction and wide open spaces with adequate feed and health care, ensuring animals are provided the 5 freedoms.

  • Understanding that in order to grow wool, care and respect for the animals, workers and environment are not mutually exclusive. All must work together. Working to develop better farming practices, including no mulesing and no live bulk international export.

  • Treating staff and workers with respect, conducting business that meets responsibilities in areas of human rights; labour, environment and anti-corruption. These are referenced from The Ten Principles of the United Nations Global Compact - learn more here. ZQ is owned and managed by The New Zealand Merino Company, check out their Code of Ethics here.

  • Working to minimise impacts on the environment, taking active management to protect and enhance soils, water and indigenous biodiversity, by working to a Land and Environment Plan.


We only work with growers and brand partners who align with our vision for a better world. They get it, and want to do the right thing too.


Together, we continue to strive for better.


Written by Rhiannon James

P. +64 3 335 0911

© The New Zealand Merino Company Ltd 2019