Ethical. Sustainable. Traceable.
Merino is thought to be the oldest breed of sheep in the world. Famous for its fine, soft wool and its ability to thrive in extreme climates like the high country of New Zealand’s mountainous South Island.
Our New Zealand Merino is ZQ Certified which ensures it is grown and certified to the highest of quality, meets environmental sustainability benchmarks, and adheres to animal welfare and social responsibilities.
The best wool is created by the best people, animals, and environment that create it. ZQ Merino must meet brand contract specifications to ensure the final product's processing, quality, and performance attributes.
Traceable to source
All the wool supplied to ZQ can be traced back to the individual farms. The values, vision, and ethical farming systems are a source of pride among our ZQ growers.
Merino sheep graze on pastures in free-range farming conditions. Naturally, sheep are herd animals and enjoy grazing in wide-open spaces and seeking natural shelters. ZQ growers adhere to the five basic freedoms below.
Healthy animals rely on a healthy environment, as do our future generations. ZQ growers are required to develop a farm environmental plan relative to their individual property.
Sustainable farming is closely linked with the health and wellness of our farmers, their families, the farmworkers, and the local community. ZQ ensures safe, healthy workplaces, fair wages, and income stability.
Merino sheep graze on pastures in free-range, extensive farming conditions in the high country hills of New Zealand. Naturally, sheep are herd animals and enjoy grazing in wide-open spaces and seeking natural shelters. Certified ZQ growers are required to provide and care for their animals in accordance with the five basic freedoms below, ensuring our New Zealand Merino is mulesing-free.
Five Basic Freedoms
FREE FROM THIRST
ZQ sheep are farmed in a manner where they can forage as they please. Well-fed sheep with good nutrition are better able to cope with natural stress, like extreme weather. ZQ growers manage their farms to ensure their sheep always have access to clean water and adequate nutrition.
FREE TO LIVE NATURALLY
ZQ sheep are free-range. Free to roam in vast open pastures, with typically more than an acre of space each, though they prefer to roam with their mates. With so much land available and a hands-off approach, they’re free to act naturally and display normal patterns of behavior.
FREE FROM DISCOMFORT
Over the years, sheep have evolved in environments with extremes of heat and cold, largely on account of their fleece, which means they’re able to survive and thrive in varying conditions. However, ZQ growers go a step further to protect sheep from distress and ensure they have adequate shade and shelter available at all times.
FREE FROM DISTRESS
ZQ growers must handle and manage their sheep to avoid any unnecessary stress and pain. That’s why mulesing – a painful on-farm procedure traditionally used to prevent flystrike disease - is NOT permitted on ZQ farms. Farm facilities are also maintained to ensure they don’t pose a risk of injury. Safety first, always.
FREE FROM DISEASE
To minimize stress or discomfort, ZQ growers regularly monitor their flock to prevent disease, illness and to rapidly diagnose animal health issues. A lot of ZQ growers come from sheep farming families, where stockmanship knowledge is developed and passed on over generations of farming.
Our ZQ Merino is milled by a heritage company, originally based in New Zealand and now located in Nam Dinh, Vietnam, with over 50 years in the business. This mill is a Bluesign System Partner and provides a MAPP performance guarantee. This company also adheres to social accountability practices based on the Social Accountability International SA8000 Standard, which provides safety and well-being standards for workers. These include safe workplaces and healthy working conditions, a living wage, and increased awareness of worker rights as well as enhanced relationships with management, and more input in workplace decision-making. The company’s health and safety practices also adhere to the local government requirements of both office and production sites.
The resulting fabric is a 100% Merino, 18.9-micron OEKO-TEX certified single jersey knit, that is as soft on you as it is on the planet.