Bremworth – A growing relationship with an NZ owned wool carpet and rug manufacturer embarking on innovation for sustainable manufacturing
Bremworth is listed on NZX as Bremworth Ltd under the ticker code BRW and its activities include carpet and rug manufacturing and wool procurement in New Zealand. It distributes its carpet and rugs in New Zealand, Australia and in rest of world markets. Bremworth is an iconic Kiwi Company with over 50 years’ experience, and with 99% of its shares held by shareholders domiciled in New Zealand.
Bremworth is a largely vertically integrated organisation that uses 100% New Zealand wool and manufactures from wool buying, scouring, yarn production through to tufting carpet. Scouring is not owned by Bremworth, although this manufacturing stage is completed in New Zealand with a long-term partner.
Bremworth’s manufacturing facilities are located in South Auckland and in the provincial New Zealand regions of Napier and Whanganui. Our wool buying facilities are in Whanganui, Raetihi, Cambridge and Taumaranui. All of our wool materials are sourced from New Zealand farmers, with many of whom we have long term relationships. Strong wool, which represents the majority of New Zealand wool, is primarily used for carpet manufacture.
With a focus on finding a more sustainable way, Bremworth offers a wide range of luxurious wool carpets and rugs.
In early 2021, Bremworth announced a $4.9M sustainability-based research programme, seeking to create better and greener ways to manufacture wool carpet with $1.9M grant from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), as part of MPI’s Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures (SFFF) investment programme. This investment programme builds capability to support the development of a science-based and environmentally sustainable approach to woollen carpets and interior products. Bremworth’s programme uses a novel pathway to develop meaningful outcomes for the Wool Industry, including industrial Ph.D. candidates and collaborative partnerships. These partnerships include the New Zealand Product Accelerator, University of Auckland and AgResearch.
The University of Auckland and Bremworth have identified several areas to explore to improve product sustainability, and achieve the design, quality and longevity standards required to carry the Bremworth name. NZPA relationship with Bremworth is a part of this much wider initiative, with NZPA members supervising, a three-year Ph.D. project involving research and development of natural and green chemistry-based alternatives to replace the few remaining synthetic components of woollen carpets.
We believe that natural and compostable solutions are better for our planet because natural materials form part of Earth’s carbon cycle and have been part of the environment for millennia.
Unfortunately, all synthetic carpet fibres are essentially plastic. In 2019 over 17,000 tonnes of synthetic carpet yarn was imported into New Zealand. Each year about 148,000 tonnes of carpet goes to landfill in New Zealand. We believe that compostable wool carpet is part of the solution to this waste problem.
Our 60+ years of experience has taught us that wool is a high performing, natural alternative to plastic fibres. Wool is also grown in New Zealand, it’s 100% biodegradable and it’s also renewable.
Developing a more compostable wool carpet requires identifying the problems that really matter and systematically working to resolve them. This includes considering materials that have never been used before in wool carpet production. Building materials like wool carpet have a long service life in harsh and varied environmental conditions. Introducing a new material requires a thorough understanding of the mode of action, durability, effectiveness, and cost. Material selection must also embrace circularity principles, and deliver health, safety and environmental best practice. The Ph.D. and research studies will produce a robust science-based evaluation of the best alternative materials to lower the environmental impact and move towards more sustainable wool carpets.
Bremworth and NZPA have also been collaborating on the development of a recycled wool carpet underlay. This project targets the significant volume of carpet that ends up in landfill in New Zealand every year. Recycled carpet underlay is currently not well accepted in the market and this project aims to overcome some of the barriers to acceptance through material property development. NZPA have accessed diverse technical expertise in the development of this project which has accelerated the prototype and testing phase.