The problems with wool

Don’t let them pull the wool over your eyes. Wool is neither ecofriendly or animal friendly! Wool production is a significant driver of biodiversity loss, according to a new report, and is worsening global warming. Experts recommend replacing the animal product in favor of vegan alternatives.

Wool producers have been pushing the narrative that wool production is “natural, traditional, and sustainable.” One industry player, Woolmark, which represents 60,000 Australian wool growers, even refers to wool as “a friend to the environment.”

Stephanie Feldstein, population and sustainability director at the Center for Biological Diversity says that claim is nonsense. “The industry has been pulling the wool over our eyes for decades, claiming that wool is a sustainable fiber,” Feldstein said in a statement. “Wool clothing comes with a heavy price tag of greenhouse gas emissions, land use, biodiversity loss, and pollution. Nothing about wool is sustainable.”

Researchers found that the average climate cost of sheep’s wool is three times greater than acrylic, and five times greater than conventionally grown cotton. Further, wool requires 367 times more land per bale than cotton. Meanwhile, the chemical process of cleaning shorn wool pollutes waterways and kills aquatic life.

“Sheep grazing pasture land may seem innocent and natural, but sheep are introduced, bred and eventually slaughtered while the grazed lands are degraded and prevented from thriving,” said Emma Hakansson, Collective Fashion Justice founding director. “There’s nothing natural about this inefficient, unsustainable and exploitative industry.”

The Center for Biological Diversity and Collective Fashion Justice are now urging players across the fashion industry to phase out wool, or cut their usage of it by at least half, before 2025. But you don’t have to wait for that. You can stop using wool now and in doing so you’ll help save not only the environment but also the lives of the many sheep who await a horrible end in the slaughterhouse.