Update from ACTE member: Good conditions for the wool industry in Gotland
Knowledge of wool processing, good raw material availability and a growing consumer interest in sustainable materials provides Gotland good opportunities to further develop a local wool industry. It is shown in the preliminary study "Requirements for Wool-fiber-based Industry on Gotland", recently released. The preliminary study was funded by LeaderGute and the Swedish Board of Agriculture and was run by Hushållssällskapet Gotland.
As Lotta Löwhagen Lundberg, consultant of Hushållssällskapet Gotland, stated in the presentation the report for the wool industry for the representatives of the region of Gotland, County Administrative Board, Green Center and the sheep association on Gotland on the 13th June 2018: there is a future and development willingness in the wool industry on Gotland! Many companies have concrete investment plans. There is a pole for the wool treatment in Gotland.
Together with Ullkontoret, Northern Europe's largest wool laundry established on the island, there are also three spinning mills and a number of other wool industry activities. Access to a large scale wool laundry offers completely new possibilities for processing the Gotland raw wool, since wool processing begins with washing. Ullkontoret is the only company in Sweden that can offer "Swedish-washed" on a larger scale in Sweden. Larger volumes of Swedish wool are today sent for laundry abroad to England and Belgium.
Gotland is the county in the country, next to Västergötland, with the largest number of sheep (almost 70,000). Few and large crews on a relatively limited area provide the opportunity to develop an industrially efficient collection. Wool is a renewable raw material. All sheeps in Sweden can be cut 1-2 times a year and a large part of this natural fiber can not be used today. In Gotland, the annual wool harvest is estimated to be over 100 tonnes and the preliminary study indicates that about 50-60 percent of the wool is collected today for further processing. It is a large proportion compared to the country in general, and is mainly due to the fact that there are established industrial flows that can handle large volumes.
Gotland woolen industry is quite unknown, so it has been a challenge to study it. Many have the wool as a sideline for other economic activities. But it is important to make visible that actually exists! It is also important to establish concepts such as "wool industry" and to see wool fibers as industrial raw materials.
On the other hand there is some lack of competences in the wool industry in Gotland and a need for generational change. The lack of skills means, in particular, lack of technical skills and industrial competences.
The report finds that there is a lack of commercial cooperation platforms. Networking and collaboration can contribute to development and innovation. A meeting has been organized with representatives of the Gotland Green Center, members of ACTE (European Textile Collectivities Association) and ALMI Expand to discuss how to proceed with the creation of both knowledge centers and technology centers in the future.