IWTO Congress Kyoto Japan 16 – 18 May 2023

IWTO Congress Kyoto Japan 16 – 18 May 2023

IWTO Congress wrapped up in Kyoto Japan last week. It was the first in-person Congress to be held since the Covid pandemic hit three years ago. The Congress was attended by over 250 delegates from around the world and 20+ virtual delegates also linked in.

Outgoing President Wolf Edmayr South Africa was succeeded by Klaus Steger of Germany (Südwolle Group) who will serve for a two year term.

Since 1930 IWTO has represented the collective interests of the global wool trade. Members come from all stages of the wool textile pipeline, from farm to retail, through research, and education. It is the global authority for standards in the wool textile industry with 33 members in 23 countries.

A number of sessions were held including  a Wool Interiors session presented by Craig Smith New Zealand representing Devold, Andrew Hogley of British Wool, and Katsumasa Hayashi of Ke’Ken Testing Japan.

The Campaign for Wool session was presented by Peter Ackroyd Chairman, and included presentations from Ryan Cosgrove New Zealand, Deon Saayman South Africa, and Matthew Rowe Canada.

Market Intelligence session covered the latest production and manufacturing statistics from Australia, New Zealand, China, and South Africa. It also included a presentation by Madame Yang Nanjing Wool Market who outlined the situation in China as it emerges from Covid lockdowns. Presentations were also made by Dave Maslen The New Zealand Merino Company, and Isak Staats BKB South Africa.

Goetz Giebel of Schneider Italy spoke about the danger of signing new compliance documents being requested by clients when purchasing wool, tops, and yarn. This new compliance regime could result in legal ramifications for those companies signing extremely complex and lengthy legal documents. IWTO will look into this from a whole of industry perspective with the intention to create an industry wide, single compliance certificate that will be understood and accepted by all along the supply chain. 

Sessions on Retail and Wool Sustainability, Health and Wellness were also held.

A Young Professionals program was ably co-ordinated by Philippe Strehle France, with the program offering bespoke networking and social opportunities and mentoring support. Young Professionals were matched with senior members of the wool textile trade.

Closing remarks were delivered by Wolf Edmayr and Tetsuya Motohiro of Motohiro Company, belatedly celebrating its 100th anniversary, 2 years after the fact, but in time for the Congress in Japan!

The 2024 IWTO Congress will be held in Adelaide Australia.