Benetton first European fashion brand to join IWTO

Italian high street brand Benetton is paving the way for fashion brands when it comes to their commitment to wool. As not only the first European fashion brand but also one of the few globally to join the International Wool Textile Organisation, the Benetton Group now has the chance to prove its commitment to environmental protection, product safety and more transparency in the supply chain.

"We are the first European fashion company to join IWTO," commented Marco Airoldi, chief executive of Benetton Group. "This is a new first and a further demonstration of the ethical approach which is at the heart of Benetton Group, a company for whom social commitment, caring for the environment, a well-monitored supply chain and transparency towards the consumer are the core values of a model of responsibility that goes above and beyond our commercial objectives."

As the recognised global authority for standards in the wool textile industry, the IWTO publishes wool trade standards, arbitration rules and wool production and market statistics. The organisation also coordinates research on key topics such as sustainability, sheep welfare and biosecurity. Established in 1930, the IWTO liaises with governments, NGOs and other stakeholders on topics of joint concern. Apart from Benetton, only the Indian textile conglomerate Raymond and the South Korean outdoor sportswear and shoe manufacturer Youngone have joined the organisation from the retail front.

"We are honoured to welcome the Benetton Group to our organisation, especially given the fact that they are the first corporate retailers to join IWTO," said Piercarlo Zedda, the IWTO's vice president. "Benetton has wool in its very DNA. For this reason, we are very pleased to be able to count on their commitment and active involvement within our organisation," Zedda added.

"The Benetton Group is the first corporate retail brand to join the IWTO. We very much welcome this significant addition to our membership. Benetton’s global footprint underlines the international importance of the wool industry, as reflected by our members," said IWTO president Peter Ackroyd.

The decision by the Italian brand to join the IWTO shows the central role of knitwear and wool for Benetton. Because of its high elasticity and resilient natural fibres, wool is an extraordinary and unique material. However, due to the industry's often brutal shearing techniques, wool has been placed on the consumer blacklist of materials to avoid.

Photo: IWTO website

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