Objectifying Our Love: ZQ by the Numbers

imageEver wondered what magical “it” factor makes Ibex gear so amazing, besides the impeccable design and fit? Just like Yoda can sense the force without a neon sign, the inclusion of the world’s finest, ethical, and most sustainable wool is what gives Ibex stuff theenvironmental and visceral equivalent of a warm, friendly hug.

Seventy percent of Ibex wool products are ZQ-certified. To follow a phrase with a phrase, ZQ-certified wool is “the best of the best” and “from the purest place in the world”.

ZQ may sound like an onomatopoeia for a sneeze, but the validity of this brand of sustainable wool is most definitely nothing to sneeze at.  (Get it?) ZQ is not a brand, as much as it is a standard. ZQ certifies that Merino growers produce wool in a manner that conforms to the highest possible standards of environmental, social and economic sustainability, animal welfare and traceability. From the time a lamb is just a glimmer in his ram and ewe’s eyes, to the point where she gets her first (and consecutive) haircut, ZQ certifies the wool fleece will be the highest quality natural Merino fiber available.

With the support of Ibex, as well as other Merino wool companies following responsible buying practices, growth of the ZQ brand over the past 7 years has been nothing short of remarkable.


ZQ was born in New Zealand as a way to truly differentiate the New Zealand Merino (NZM) from other wools around the world. (NZM claims to have the whitest, brightest, and strongest wool on the market). ZQ is independently audited each year by a third-party auditor to assure transparency and compliance by all growers. It’s not a moneymaking machine to ‘green wash’ wool production. There is no financial cost for a grower to sign on with ZQ – save for the investment of time and efforts in conforming to their high standards.

While most Ibex ZQ wool hails from the south island of New Zealand, Ibex became the first company to source ZQ-certified Merino wool outside of the Kiwi state when we contracted with Merino ranchers in Uruguay in 2011. With only 36,000 bales of ZQ-certified wool worldwide, all ZQ wool maintains its exclusive and demanding standards.

This is where our wool comes from.  This is Ibex.  This is the Art of Wool.

Check out the numbers below to get a feel of the high value of wool to world economies, and to understand how exclusive ZQ wool is.

  • 40 Million sheep living in New Zealand.
  • 2 New Zealand’s world ranking in the export of Merino wool.
  • 11 Million sheep living in Uruguay.
  • 5 Uruguay’s world ranking in the export of Merino wool.
  • 21  Thousand sheep shorn each year for Ibex.
  • 11 Billion wool bales produced annually worldwide.
  • 36 Thousand bales of wool ZQ certified.
  • 70 % of Ibex products currently rocking ZQ certification.