Background to the W3 programme
The W3 Wool Unleashed programme was an $22.1 million 6.5-year partnership between The New Zealand Merino Company Limited (NZM) and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) that commenced in February 2016 and ended in June 2022.
The Programme's vision was 'to drive transformational change in the way New Zealand strong wool is produced, marketed and sold'.
The programme was celebrated by Time Magazine in its round up of 'The Best Inventions of 2022'.
Evaluation of W3 achievements
As part of its monitoring process for PGP programmes, MPI commissioned an independent evaluation. This looked at:
- outcomes and benefits
- programme execution
- lessons learnt.
What the evaluation found
- The evaluation found that W3 was an innovative programme supporting New Zealand’s overall position as a quality supplier in the international wool market.
- Whilst some of the objectives and sales targets have not been achieved within the planned timeframes, continued focus on the principles established by W3 of a combination of consumer/brand partner focus, continual product innovation and collaborative partnerships with woolgrowers, underpinned by a standardised quality system, shows much promise for the future.
- Both NZM and MPI should take pride in what has been achieved. The courage and pragmatism of the Programme Governance Group in taking on board feedback from the mid-term review and resetting the programme targets in 2020 to make them more realistic, embodying lessons learned, was commendable. Without government investment, a project like this would not have been possible because of the risk involved.
- Increased revenue of $4.51/kg versus the market indicator of $3.33/kg on a clean wool price was achieved, as was the increase to 373 of growers registered with the ZQRX.
- The W3 programme has successfully leveraged the fine wool experience into strong wool to identify and meet premium consumer requirements. Many of these trends are not limited to the wool industry. From an end user perspective this programme has supported the delivery of products that are in step with high-end consumer trends.
- Staff were skilled and knowledgeable about the strong wool industry. They were passionate about the wool industry and the W3 programme and were genuinely wanting to improve wool growers’ profitability and sustainability.
- The W3 programme has supported the development of floor coverings (carpets, rugs), blankets, upholstery, footwear, hosiery, apparel, insulation, automotive and bedding products with appealing consumer attributes that have the quality of raw materials embedded and assured through ZQRX.
Lessons learnt include the importance of:
- the wool industry not fearing change
- long-term courageous investment
- collaboration and cooperation in the wool industry
- grower suppliers supporting the approach
- changing consumer trends through brand partners relationships and commitments.