CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand, June 23, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The New Zealand Merino Company’s regenerative wool platform, ZQRX, and Savory Institute’s Land to Market Program are proud to announce a strategic partnership between the organizations. Together, the two leading forces within the industry will further support ZQRX’s network of growers, which represent over 3.7 million acres of land. Through supporting these growers in establishing regenerative agriculture and monitoring the resulting ecological outcomes, the two organizations will collaboratively strive for a more sustainable future.
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," said Megan Meiklejohn, Senior Vice President of Supply Chain Innovation at Land to Market.
"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," said Chris Kerston, Chief Commercial Officer. "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," continued Kerston.
This partnership will drive measurable impact in the Land Indicator of the ZQRX platform, incorporating Savory Institute’s Ecological Outcome VerificationTM (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 centered around constant improvement. This belief is at the core of our exciting 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," said John Brakenridge, CEO of The New Zealand Merino Company.
As two outcome-driven organizations 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 wool of the highest standard – a natural fiber that promotes regenerative ecosystems, healthy communities, and the best animal welfare standards in the world.
As a foundational partner of ZQRX, VF Corporation is providing significant investment towards ZQRX’s Land Indicator – supporting the tremendous impact that this partnership will drive as brands such as VF’s very own 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 an exciting 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."