The guide covers both practical steps related to design and product development as well as generic aspects of circular business models. Photo: Anna Sigge
Used correctly, Swedish wool fibers are a natural and sustainable alternative – but today more than half of the wool produced in Sweden goes to waste. The Swedish Wool Initiative is now launching a circular design guide, developed by Science Park Borås, that will help companies to use Swedish wool in a sustainable and circular way.
The textile and fashion industry are in a transition to a circular economy and, from a circular system perspective, Swedish wool is a valuable resource. The purpose of the new design guide from the Swedish Wool Initiative is to share insights and provide inspiration to anyone who wants to work with Swedish wool. As design, materials, and business models are tightly intertwined, the guide covers both practical steps related to design and product development as well as generic aspects of circular business models.
Everything begins in the design phase, where a lot of choices are made that will affect the quality and durability of the product throughout its life cycle. Our goal is to help designers use the right fiber for the right application to ensure that their products last longer and can be part of circular cycles even after the last use.
– Lena-Marie Jensen, Project Coordinator at Science Park Borås, and author of the guide together with her colleague Linda Nydén.
In addition to being bio-based and recyclable, wool is naturally antibacterial, dirt-repellent and flame-retardant.
Collaboration across the entire value chain
The Swedish Wool Initiative is a project run by Axfoundation since 2020 that aims to create conditions for Swedish brands and suppliers in fashion, outdoor, and home furnishings to have access to competitive, high-quality Swedish wool. In 2023, the initiative launched Sweden’s first common classification system for Swedish wool – the Swedish Wool Standard– and with the newly released design guide, there is now another tool that makes it easier to make use of Swedish wool.
In the context of circular design, the project has contributed to creating real change by collaborating across the entire value chain. Embracing new working methods and processes leads to unexpected alliances that will be central for the transition to a sustainable and circular textile industry. Investing in regional raw materials such as Swedish wool requires openness to innovative product design, and the design guide is a treasure chest of concrete tips from those who use the fantastic Swedish wool.
– Johan Sidenmark, Project Manager for The Swedish Wool Initiative, Axfoundation
Swedish brands at the forefront
The guide also shares valuable lessons learned from Swedish outdoor and fashion brands at the forefront. Participants include the companies Filippa K, Fjällräven, Klippan Yllefabrik, and Tiger of Sweden, all of whom are partners in The Swedish Wool Initiative and work actively with Swedish wool in their products.
The project has been very innovative and exciting to be a part of. Our goal is always to tailor the product to align with the qualities of Swedish wool, rather than molding the fiber to conform to the product.
– Madeleine Kawasaki, Sustainability & Innovation Manager at Tiger of Sweden.
About The Swedish Wool Initiative
The Swedish Wool Initiative is a broad collaboration among stakeholders throughout the value chain, from sheep owners to Swedish brands in the fashion, outdoor, and home furnishing sectors. The goal is to enable Swedish brands and suppliers to easily access competitive Swedish wool raw materials of high and consistent quality. Through practical solutions, enhanced infrastructure, and improved logistics, the initiative contributes to the vision of zero waste of Swedish wool.
The Swedish Wool Initiative is a collaboration between about 20 organizations. Axfoundation is the project lead and collaborates with, among others Filippa K, Fjällräven, Tiger of Sweden, Klippan Yllefabrik, Smart Textiles/Science Park Borås, IVL Swedish Environmental Institute, Chalmers Industriteknik, Circularista, LE Ullkonsult, Norrby gård, Västkustens Ullinsamling/CC Wool, Ullcentrum, Ullkontoret, Svenska Fårklipparförbundet, LRF and TrusTrace.
Animalia, Swedish Sheep Breeding Association and Norilia are part of the project’s group of experts. The project is supported by Sweden’s innovation agency Vinnova’s program area Sustainable Industry.