Wool

Wool

We try to source our wool from farms that are committed to animal welfare and environmental stewardship.  

wool

Stella McCartney uses wool because it is biodegradable and one of the most naturally technical materials in the world. Simultaneously warm and breathable, it has antibacterial properties that reduce the need for frequent washing. It is also naturally water repellent, fire resistant and long lasting.  

Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute 

We believe that wool can only be truly sustainable if it does no damage to Mother Earth, our fellow creatures or humans. That’s why we worked with one of our key knitwear suppliers to pursue Gold-Level Cradle to Cradle Certification for one of our most-used wool yarns – and we were the first fashion brand to achieve it.   

The Cradle to Cradle Certified Standard drives innovation and positive change for both Stella McCartney and the industry as a whole. The certification looks at five categories: material health, material reutilisation, renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship and social fairness. 


Working closely with an independent assessor, we focused on optimising every step of our wool supply chain – avoiding the use of pesticides around sheep, changing the chemistry of the dyes we use and improving the health, safety and sustainability of the materials. 

In order to achieve a Gold-Level standard, we had to ensure that all the chemicals used in the processing of our wool were safe and non-toxic. 


This was particularly challenging when it came to certifying the yarn once it arrived at the Italian mills as the chemicals usually used to treat the wool there did not fit Cradle to Cradle Certification standards. We worked closely with their teams and convinced them that using safer chemicals would be a beneficial change for everyone.  

Between the avoidance of using pesticides on farms, swapping detergents and processing the chemicals and dyes we use for environmentally sound alternatives, the chemistry we use to treat our wool yarn has been changed by over 70%. 

By removing industry-standard toxic dyes and finishing chemicals, we can be sure that when the wool used in our products eventually decomposes, it will contain absolutely no materials that will pollute the environment. 


As our chemistry has improved, the amount of water that we use in our Italian mill has decreased. Wastewater treatment is in place to degrade molecules that are hazardous to the environment. 


The mill operated on 50% renewable power. We then offset the remaining non-renewable energy used.

The future of wool: Vegan wool 

In 2018, we co-sponsored an exciting prize with PETA for the Biodesign Challenge. It was the first-ever PETA Prize for Animal-Free Wool, encouraging students worldwide to develop bio-fabricated vegan wool and connecting them with biotech professionals to create new inventions. The winner of the 2018 prize was WOOCOA, a vegan wool made from hemp and coconut fibres treated with enzymes from oyster mushrooms that was developed by a group of students from the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia.  

Wool supply chain map
Wool supply chain map
Other Materials & Innovation
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fibres
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fur
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metals
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organic cotton
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recycled nylon
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Synthetic materials can –and should– be recycled and come from recycled sources.

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silk
Silk

We are exploring entirely new ways of creating silk.

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vegetarian leather
Vegetarian Leather

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paper
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Sustainability