Product traceability specialist Oritain has appointed a new managing director for North America in a bid to boost its expertise in cotton and agriculture to tackle fraud in global fashion and textile supply chains.

Jeff Elder, former vice president at JG Boswell, North America's largest agricultural producer and one of the largest cotton growers, has over 40 years with California agriculture.

His vast experience and equally extensive network in both the cotton and agricultural industry will prove extremely beneficial in expanding Oritain's current growth throughout the US and globally, the group says.

Elder is also a previous president of the Cotton Warehouse Association of America, a past chairman of Supima, and chair of the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation.

Oritain says the appointment is a further step in helping the textiles industry solve global problems such as counterfeiting, blending and mitigating forced labour,.

"Jeff Elder joins Oritain at a time when the fashion and textile industry is under increasing scrutiny and CEOs are under pressure to secure their supply chains," notes Rupert Hodges, executive director, Oritain. "Textiles can cross multiple borders and pass through numerous sets of hands, and with each exchange the risk of fraud increases.

"Jeff's understanding of American crops, their supply chains and the issues faced by the cotton and agricultural industries will help us to protect global supply chains from the increasing threat of fraud."

Elder adds: "Over the past 20 years, the cotton and agriculture industry has changed significantly. Illegally produced textiles are entering the legal supply chain – high quality cotton is being blended or substituted with low grade or unethically-produced alternatives. Forensic traceability is key to ensuring transparent and ethical supply chains. I look forward to working with Oritain to support the industry to root out unscrupulous practices."

Oritain analyses the actual product itself, using chemical fingerprints to match products back to their claimed origin from any point in the supply chain.

The company recently partnered with Italian textile maker Albini Group to produce 100% traceable Supima organic cotton, which will be used in collections from global luxury group Kering, owner of brands including Gucci, YSL, Balenciaga and Alexander McQueen.

Executive director Rupert Hodges has also written for just-style to explain: How forensic science provides proof of provenance.