The Importance of Ethical Wool

October 12, 2020

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Sujaan Punja

One of Considerate’s supplier members Hypnos is renowned for producing supremely comfortable mattresses, Hypnos is committed to providing comfort with integrity. This pledge has seen Hypnos pioneer sustainable sleep solutions for hotels around the world thanks to the scrutinization of its suppliers, product lifecycles and any materials used – especially ethical wool.

Increasingly over recent years, Hypnos has been using more wool in its hospitality mattresses, especially given the fact it has naturally fire-resistant properties and meets the BS 7177 (Medium Hazard) Ignition Source 5 (Crib 5) standards legally required for hospitality properties. With this in mind, Hypnos is keen to ensure any wool used is traceable, just like that of the wool featured in its mattresses recently launched to the residential market.

But how much is known about the wool used in beds? Here, Richard Naylor, Sustainable Development Director at Hypnos Contract Beds, provides some insight on Hypnos’ approach to wool.

How has Hypnos adapted its approach to mattress design?

“Creating supreme comfort is of paramount importance to us and throughout our history, we’ve sought to be a responsible bedmaker. Right from the start of the process, we consider the lifecycle as well as the qualities of the fibres we use. We also consider the wider impact of our supply chain on the communities we work with, so it’s vital our materials aren’t just sustainable, but that they come from a socially conscious supplier too. This is what makes a product truly sustainable and ethical.”

“It is not enough to state that the wool in the bed is British – this is in effect meaningless as no-one knows which farms or sheep have supplied this wool. It is all mixed together and farmers are paid very little for their produce. However, we’ve been on a long journey as a brand to make sure we’re going the extra mile to support hard-working British sheep farmers. As part of this, we’ve been developing ethical wool for our contract mattresses which will be able to be traced back to accredited farms.”

“Our ethos hasn’t changed over the years, but our mantra of ‘comfort with integrity’ is the way we approach hospitality bed design, ensuring we know more than ever about the materials we use.”

What benefits does having wool within your mattresses bring?

“Wool fibres are tightly packed together and crimped, forming tiny pockets of air within the material which allow it to absorb and release moisture. This breathable element is what makes wool the perfect material for bed-making as it’s ideal for controlling body temperature. We know how temperature control can make or break a good night’s sleep for guests, so this is really important in our product design considerations.”

“Wool’s crimped structure also gives it extra elasticity, meaning it can stretch comfortably before returning to its natural shape. This is important from a mattress perspective – it allows the material to retain its structure in the long term, meaning it’s more resistant to wrinkling or sagging, therefore adding extra peace of mind, durability and lifespan to our products.”

“Finally, and importantly, wool is a renewable material, as long as sheep have grass to graze on they will produce a new fleece ready to be shorn.”

What kind of farms do you work with and why?

“We are working closely with British farms that align with our ethos of care and responsibility, to make sure that the integrity of our supply chain is protected. This development will mean that our hospitality customers will be able to have full traceability and peace of mind as to what wool has gone in to the bed that their guests might be sleeping on.”

“This is certainly true for our residential market where we buy the wool in batches from groups of trusted farmers. We know exactly which farms have contributed to which batches, and whilst each of these farms may have their own techniques and passions, they’re all held to the highest standards.”

“These farming standards ensure the kind and ethical treatment of animals by embracing the principles of the Five Freedoms, which is enshrined in the Animal Welfare Act of 2007. In fact, we’ve become the first bedmaker that can offer this traceability for our residential customers, thanks to our industry-first partnership with Red Tractor for assured wool. This partnership, alongside others, helps to provide an added level of peace of mind when it comes to ethics and we’re working hard behind the scenes to develop this level of traceability for hoteliers wishing to have sustainable and ethical products in their hotels or B&Bs.”

For more information on Hypnos Contract Beds visit https://www.hypnoscontractbeds.com/uk