Test Certificates

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IWTO Certificates: Confidence for the Trade of Wool

IWTO Test Certificates are essential to the wool trade. International trading of wool requires clear specifications of the quantity and quality of the wool, and all parties to the trade need to be assured that these specifications have been achieved.

Integrity in the wool trade begins with sampling of  a wool bale. Wool bales are weighed and sampled in accordance with IWTO Regulations. Samples are tested by testing authorities which then issue a certificate.  IWTO Certificates are produced by independent test houses, licensed by IWTO to issue IWTO certificates. Test houses may not issue IWTO certificates without being licensed by IWTO.

Test houses licensed by IWTO are accredited by their national standardization bodies, and the relevant tests are carried out in strict compliance with IWTO test methods and regulations.

Through this process, buyers and sellers can use IWTO certificates with confidence. In addition, IWTO Certificates are backed by the IWTO Arbitration Rules that clearly outline the rights and responsibilities of all concerned, including those of the testing authority.

The image shows a sample IWTO Test Certificate, issued by Australian Wool Testing Authority (AWTA).

Test House Certificates or Test Reports

Test houses in some cases issue other documents that may be called "Test House Certificate" or "Test Report". 

These documents do not meet the standard of an IWTO Test Certificate.

Some of the reasons for issuing these non-IWTO documents:

  • the test house is not IWTO Licensed, either for any tests, or for the specific tests reported
  • the test house was not able to meet all the sampling, testing or reporting requirements for IWTO Certificates
  • the test house used an ‘in-house’ or other test method that is not recognised by IWTO
  • the testing was conducted using modified or abbreviated IWTO methods
  • sampling and bale weighing has not been supervised by independent sampling staff or has not followed the IWTO Regulations.

Regardless of the reason, the trading partners need to be aware that these documents carry no official recognition from IWTO. 


Wool Testing Certificates: Traceability and Integrity

Nearly all wool is sold with an IWTO Test Certificate. In Australia, wool that is declared through the National Wool Declaration (NWD) program is reported on the IWTO/AWTA Test Certificate. The NWD includes information, provided by the wool grower, on mulesing status and deark and medullated fibre (DMFR) risk. Traders cannot remove the mulesing status that is shown on AWTA Certificates.

An example of how the informtion flows through the supply chain in a traceable manner:

  • Top-makers buy wool on the basis of the AWTA Combined Certificate (a combination of the various sale lots that go into one order). This reports the mulesing status of each component lot. In this way the NWD is fed into the supply chain
  • If the spinner or other later stage processor demands the mulesing declaration information the AWTA Certificate, or a summarised Mulesing Status Report is passed along the supply chain 

AWTA provides an online Certificate Verification service that can be used to check the authenticity of the report. Making false declarations in trade or commerce is an offence in Australia and the Competition Regulator will prosecute this if necessary.

For more information