CottonConnect and Haelixa hope the project will prove traceability creates transparency in the value chain, supports circularity, and validates any sustainability claims.
Using CottonConnect’s digital traceability platform TraceBale and Haelixa’s DNA marker the companies state they can fully trace cotton fibres using digital and physical traceability solutions. This will help ensure the marked material is used to manufacture the finished product and is traceable throughout the supply chain.
The organisations explain that during the project, the DNA marker is applied at the ginning stage and when the cotton fibre is separated from the seed, the lint cotton is sprayed with the DNA marker.
Once the marker adheres to the fibre, all the material manufactured from that cotton can be tested at any point in the supply chain, proving the same DNA-marked fibre was used to manufacture specific garments.
It can then be digitally traced through CottonConnect’s software tool, TraceBale, which based on its ‘bottom-up’ data gathering approach, aims to provide visibility to the cotton journey from the farm group to the finished product.
Haelixa stated improving traceability has become a priority for retailers in the move towards a more sustainable and ethical apparel industry and CottonConnect CEO Alison Ward explained: “At CottonConnect, we’ve been developing traceability solutions for ten years now, including our digital tool TraceBale, which is enabling brands to build a granular view of their cotton supply. We’re delighted to see new methods of validating our work. The DNA marker is helping deliver an integrated platform that is the future for retailers seeking traceability solutions.”
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Haelixa commercial director Abdelkader Amouche added: “As the textile industry begins to focus more on responsible choices, we know there is no one size fits all solution. Leveraging digital and physical traceability together reduces the risk for manufacturers and brands. Testing for our markers in the supply chain provides forensic proof of the value chain, and adding TraceBale adds another level of security.”
The two organisations are starting the joint traceability initiative with yarn from their pilot project in Rajasthan and Punjab, India.
The impact report assessed how the organisation’s programmes are supporting farmers in creating sustainable supply chains and positive environmental impact.