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Bremworth Refuses To Back Down From Its Support Of NZ Wool

A global synthetic flooring manufacturer is threatening legal action against iconic New Zealand wool company, Bremworth, as consumers increasingly opt for wool carpets amidst growing awareness of the link between synthetic carpets and plastic.

As sales of its wool carpets escalate, Bremworth has been targeted with a letter from lawyers acting for Godfrey Hirst, owned by US-based Mohawk Industries which also owns Feltex. Amongst other things, Godfrey Hirst is demanding Bremworth withdraw a number of key claims in its marketing campaign that promotes New Zealand wool, including as a natural, more sustainable alternative to synthetic carpet fibres made from plastic.

The new CEO of Bremworth, Greg Smith, said: “We see this legal threat as a distraction and an attempt to stifle legitimate competition and consumer choice. We won’t shy away from promoting the virtues of wool and countering misconceptions in the market to enable customers to make well informed flooring choices – and we firmly stand by our decision to focus on wool and natural fibres.”

The flooring market saw a huge switch from wool to nylon carpets in the late 90s and early 2000s and this had a massive negative impact on the New Zealand wool sector.

Says Greg: “What people didn’t realise was that putting nylon carpet on their floor was the equivalent of around 22,000 plastic bags in weight sitting in your home[1] . We were surprised by how many consumers had not made the connection between nylon carpets and plastics, as a result of years of significant marketing spend and advertising campaigns convincing consumers that synthetic carpets were superior to wool.”

Greg continued: “Consumers are now becoming more aware and are seeking out more natural products. We believe New Zealand wool is the best product to meet the demands of a changing world – it is 100% natural, biodegradable and renewable and now is the right time for wool to shine.”

Bremworth has ditched plastic-based synthetic carpets in favour of a 100% focus on manufacturing and promoting wool carpets and rugs. “We are committed to doing what’s right and we’ve said goodbye to synthetic carpets – that’s 2,500 tonnes of synthetic fibre per annum that we have now taken out of our business.”

Greg describes New Zealand wool as a “miracle fibre” and says it is the best choice for carpets and rugs.

“For more than 60 years, Bremworth has built up significant knowledge about the potential and performance of many different fibres from diverse sources for use in flooring. It is our belief that wool carpet is the optimum offer for customers. Along with its design and performance benefits, wool is natural, fire retardant, warm in winter and cool in summer, and stain resistant.

“We’re now on a mission to educate and inspire consumers to fall back in love with wool and by doing so, we will help to reignite the strong wool sector in New Zealand.”

Chairman of Wool Research of New Zealand, Andy Fox, supports the promotion of New Zealand wool. “Crossbred wool is a natural material, that’s exceptionally versatile, making it perfect to create innovative products and it’s also a high performing alternative to synthetic fibres. The promotion of New Zealand wool should be encouraged and supported.”

[1] Based on an average Kiwi household of 110m2 or 30 broadloom metres of 40 ounce synthetic carpet.

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