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27 July 2023
Wool Street Journal
Company News

PGG Wrightson Wool and Fine Wool Growers Embark on 11-Day European Tour with Devold

In an unprecedented move to strengthen their bond with New Zealand wool growers and with PGGW Wool, one of the world's leading outdoor clothing producers, Devold, proudly organised an exclusive 11-day European tour for 17 New Zealand merino wool growers. The tour was aimed at giving these dedicated growers a firsthand experience of how their premium merino wool is transformed into high-quality garments and showcased in the international market.

Devold, a company with a remarkable heritage dating back to 1853, has been at the forefront of wool garment production. Having opened a flagship store in Wanaka in July 2021, Devold is committed to promoting a sustainable and transparent supply chain through its "Sheep to Shop" programme. Under this program, the 17 selected New Zealand growers are required to supply a minimum of 60 bales of the finest merino wool each year, allowing the wool's journey to be traced right from the sheep's back to the store shelves.

The tour commenced in Munich, Germany, where the growers were invited to attend the prestigious ISPO trade fair and visit Devold's stand. The experience opened their eyes to the vastness of the international market and showcased ISPO as the largest trade fair for the sports business in Europe. With brands and products from over 50 countries and over 80,000 attendees the ISPO trade fair presented a remarkable opportunity for New Zealand growers to see how well-established and competitive Devold is in the international market.

Following their time in Munich, the growers travelled to Lithuania to visit the Devold Mill, where the magic of wool transformation unfolds. Witnessing their very own wool being processed and turned into individual garments was a moment of immense pride for these hard-working growers. The state-of-the-art machinery at the mill stood as a testament to Devold's commitment to producing garments of the highest quality.

The journey continued to Alesund, Norway, situated at an impressive latitude of 62 degrees north. Here, the growers were introduced to Oystein Vikingsen Fauske, the recently appointed CEO of Devold. Fauske's passion and dedication resonated with the New Zealand growers, and he left a lasting impression on them. The trip proved to be the beginning of a reciprocal relationship, as Fauske and two other top executives from Devold plan to visit the growers on their stations in New Zealand in September this year.

Dave Burridge, the PGG Wrightson South Island Wool Auctioneer who accompanied the growers, described the tour as a "legacy" moment, solidifying the special connection between Devold and New Zealand growers. “The tour's impact highlighted the genuine commitment of Devold in nurturing and supporting the growers” Burridge said.

The close association between PGG Wrightson Wool and Devold has been instrumental in creating an exciting future for the growers. The partnership between the two companies has seen increasing volumes year on year, and PGG Wrightson remains steadfast in its role as a logistical supplier, facilitating long-term contracts for the growers. These contracts provide growers with financial security and stability over a five-year period, allowing them to plan and budget confidently.

Craig Smith, the GM of Devold NZ, played a vital role in nurturing the longstanding relationship between PGG Wrightson and Devold. Smith mentions, “Creating favourable contracts for the growers and in line with their quality strategy has been pivotal in the continuous growth of this partnership.”

The 11-day tour served as a testament to Devold's commitment to its growers and their cherished wool, and it laid the foundation for a promising future for New Zealand's wool industry. With a shared vision for sustainability, transparency, and premium quality, Devold and PGG Wrightson Wool are set to make an indelible mark in the world of wool.

To find out more about the wool supply chain and the journey from farm to market visit:

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