Grower shareholders from around the country attended the Wools of New Zealand Annual General Meeting in Christchurch last week.
Chairman Mark Shadbolt and CEO Rosstan Mazey presented information about the company's financial performance over the past 12 months, the challenges confronting the business and the company's drive towards revolutionising the industry through a focus on R&D, the development of innovative technologies and product authenticity initiatives that will deliver significant commercial opportunities for shareholders, together with strategic priorities for the year ahead.
Mr Shadbolt outlined the significance of the company's sound financial position in the context of challenges currently facing the strong wool sector.
"Wools of New Zealand is proud to deliver a positive financial result for our grower shareholders despite the current state of the strong wool industry," said Mr Shadbolt.
"The delivery of these results is testimony to the merits of the strategic focus of the company over the past five years and the trust and confidence of our shareholders in that focus.
"We have been relentless in pursuing targeted investments in R&D, the development of new technologies that add value to our strong wool, pursuit of the right partnerships, providing different routes to market, securing forward contracts for our wool, the championing of ethical and sustainable production practices, and the building of a compelling brand story"
"We are of the view that ongoing success will be greatly enhanced by choosing the right partners who share our drive to add value to our shareholders' wool and to work in collaboration."
He said Wools of New Zealand's commitment to shareholders goes beyond profit alone.
"We are acutely aware of the importance of reputation in sustaining a healthy long-term future.
"Consumers around the world are rightfully demanding more knowledge of what they're buying, its origins and the ethics that surround its production.
"To that end, we have continued to respond to the market's growing demand for transparency around the integrity of products and production practices."
"Where our growers have really benefited to date is by evolving practices on farm to meet programmes such as EU Ecolabel Lamb's Wool, which has consistently lead the market for the past five years. We've also worked closely with manufacturers and our brand partners to promote the use of authentic branded Wools of New Zealand wool, strengthening the direct link between consumers and our growers."
He said most recently there had been a significant effort to develop and introduced the Responsible Wool Standard to meet the demand from global brands and retailers that have been looking to offer wool products that reflect their own commitments to responsible sourcing.
"It will quickly become a powerful tool to demonstrate the best practice of farmers, and to allow brands to communicate their expectations to their full supply chains," he said.
"This industry benchmark will, without doubt, have enormous impact in securing a future for New Zealand wool, and aid in the battle against man-made synthetic fibres."
Wools of New Zealand Grower of the Year Award was also announced at the AGM.
This year's recipient was the Grant Brothers Partnership, a fourth-generation farming family from Southland.
The competition is open to all growers who sign up to the company's Staple Supply Programme.
¦The 2017 Wools of New Zealand Annual Report provides an overview of the company's strategic priorities and a summary of the financial performance. It is available from www.woolsnz.com