His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales visited the British Embassy in Japan today (23rd October) to celebrate the UK House in Japan campaign that is running a series of events and activities to showcase UK excellence in business, innovation, culture, arts and education in order to build closer relationships between the UK and Japan. This included a display from the Campaign for Wool that highlighted the attributes of wool for well-being.

Wool is known for its biodegradability in the land and ocean which is becoming a topic of social discussion and engagement as the Campaign for Wool continues to push this message globally through Wool Week, social and other promotional opportunities for consumers to Make A Difference and to Choose Wool for their next garment or product in the home. Collectively we can all make a small difference and accumulatively this can only help the plastic issue we are facing globally.

Wool is less known for its health and well-being properties, but has a great story to tell, with its eco credentials propelling the fibre into the health and wellbeing industries. Science* is showing that wool bedding and sleepwear appear to promote a better night’s sleep, and medical studies reveal the wellbeing benefits of superfine Merino wool, particularly for eczema sufferers#. Wool can improve air quality@ and also absorb VOC’s (released from many products found in our homes and
offices; solvents, paints, cleaners and disinfectants, air fresheners. Used in furniture, carpets, bedding, clothing or insulation, wool can be a sustainable and natural solution to the problem of accumulating indoor contaminants.

As Japan found new prosperity in the 1950s and 1960s at a time when traditional values in the home were being revisited, consumers of futons and mattresses routinely asked for bedding products filled with quality wool. As there are very few sheep in Japan, this growing demand was met by wools from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the UK and the market grew to between 6000 to 7000 tons of wool per year.

Unfortunately, this brief encounter with sustainability was short lived, as mills across Japan began to produce polyester at predatory prices that ultimately reduced wool’s place in the futon market to around ten percent of the total, reducing the bedding market of all the proven health advantages of sleeping with wool.

Peter Ackroyd, COO The Campaign for Wool said “Wool regulates your body temperature far better than any other fibre, keeping you in what is known as ‘the thermal comfort zone’. You therefore not only fall asleep quicker and sleep longer, but also have deeper, better quality sleep.”

“We are pleased to have the support of the Campaign for Wool Supporters in the creation of the wool well-being space at the Embassy, these include Johnstons of Elgin, DAKS, Hotta Carpets, AW Hainsworth, Smalls, Janie Withers, Abraham Moon & Sons, Joshua Ellis (Escorial Wool), Smalls, Allbirds, MamaOwl, Wool&Prince, and with special thanks to John Smedley.”

The Prince of Wales noted in launching his Campaign: “Wool is a product that the most brilliant boffin in the most hi-tech laboratory could never create.