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June 29, 2022

ZQRX, Land to Market team on regeneratively grown materials for fashion

The New Zealand Merino Company’s regenerative wool platform ZQRX has partnered with Savory Institute’s Land to Market Program in a move aimed at accelerating the use of regeneratively grown materials for the apparel sector.

By Beth Wright

ZQRX and Land to Market Program will work to further support ZQRX’s network of growers, which represent over 3.7m acres of land. Through supporting these growers in establishing regenerative agriculture and monitoring the resulting ecological outcomes, the two organiations will collaboratively strive for a more sustainable future.

Launched last year as the apparel industry’s “first 100% regenerative wool platform” in partnership with global Merino wool apparel and footwear brands Allbirds, Icebreaker, and Smartwool, ZQRX aims to help tackle the environmental impact of the global fashion industry.

At the core of ZQRX is the belief that regenerative agriculture is a journey of continuous improvement across the entire ecosystem, inclusive of environmental, social, and animal welfare outcomes. To date, ZQRX has supported this journey through a set of 15 Key Performance Indicators, across elements including biodiversity, climate, animal health, and community.

“This partnership between Land to Market and The New Zealand Merino Company will accelerate the use of regeneratively grown materials for the fashion industry,” says Megan Meiklejohn, senior vice president of supply chain innovation at Land to Market.

Chris Kerston, chief commercial officer at Land to Market, adds: “Important collaborations like this one allow us to bring science-backed and outcome-based solutions to more farmers while offering at-scale regenerative material options to brands. Our partnership will grow supply by providing training and resources to wool growers, empowering them with the tools they need to manage their land, becoming more resilient to extreme weather events, increasing biodiversity, and ensuring profitability.”

The partnership will drive measurable impact in the Land Indicator of the ZQRX platform, incorporating Savory Institute’s Ecological Outcome Verification (EOV) protocol as a key quantitative measure. The EOV assessments are designed to support and train growers throughout their regenerative journey, and determine the outcomes of their management in striving towards continuous improvement.

“At ZQRX, our regenerative efforts are centred around constant improvement. This belief is at the core of our new partnership with the Savory Institute’s Land to Market Program, as we build upon the practices and measurable results offered to our network of growers and brand partners. In doing so, we’re further accelerating our progress, as we identify tangible actions and areas for betterment – ultimately driving more impactful ecological outcomes,” says John Brakenridge, CEO of The New Zealand Merino Company.

As two outcome-driven organisations with like-minded objectives, ZQRX and Land to Market’s partnership was a natural next step towards accelerating the adoption of regenerative management. As a result of their integration, consumers and brands will gain access to natural wool that promotes regenerative ecosystems.

As a foundational partner of ZQRX, VF Corporation is providing significant investment towards ZQRX’s Land Indicator, supporting the impact the partnership will drive as brands such as VF’s Smartwool and icebreaker further their grower relationships.

“Our strategic partnership with ZQRX ensures that our performance apparel products uphold the responsibility of protecting our planet, as well as the growers and animals involved. Through supporting the team’s partnership with Savory Institute’s Land to Market we’re proud to take these efforts to the next level in pursuit of a regenerative future for our ZQ certified merino,” says Jan Van Mossevelde, global president of icebreaker.

Jennifer McLaren, president and CEO of Smartwool, adds: “As we continue our quest to manufacture 100% climate-positive wool, ZQRX’s partnership with Savory Institute’s Land to Market is a step in driving forward our sustainability commitments. We’re pleased to support the development of their Land Indicator, as we proceed on a journey of continuous improvement with our growers.”

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