US cotton association Supima has signed a deal that will give its members – comprising over 500 US Pima cotton growers – access to cotton verification technology from global forensic science company Oritain Global.
The partnership fulfils Supima’s decade long quest to find a simple and natural way to use the fibre to verify provenance, and will encompass all growers from the four producing states of Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas.
Supima CEO Marc Lewkowitz says the cotton association has been actively engaged in trying to expand verification processes. Oritain’s technology provides the American Pima cotton grower with a natural solution utilising the cotton itself to authenticate it. Multiple solutions have arisen for verification, but this is one that is being made available to the entire American Pima cotton producer community.
“American Pima cotton growers take great pride in their status of producing a rare and premium fibre often referred to as the ‘World’s Finest Cottons’ and Supima is committed to going the extra-mile to ensure that our brand and the fibre reputation is protected,” says Lewkowitz.
“We chose Oritain because of the distinct advantages its method provides. Oritain has the ability to detect illicit blending in the supply chain, and as an organisation we want to take positive and proactive steps to mitigate this risk.”
Oritain doesn’t need to apply any identifier or tracer during the manufacturing or processing phases, which makes it a simple solution to deploy from an operational perspective. The methodology simply measures what is naturally inside the fibre.
Grant Cochrane, Oritain CEO, says the deal expands its growth into the cotton industry and also opens opportunities with some of the world’s leading fashion brands who already work with Supima.
“We are pleased to be able to demonstrate our relevance throughout the supply chain – not just for primary producers,” he says. “We know that the fashion industry is highly-motivated in the sustainability space and we are ideally positioned to help them ensure the integrity of their products and meet their sustainability objectives.”
Cochrane adds that the scientific solution Oritain offers will go a long way to address the traceability challenges that have been faced by the global cotton industry in recent years.
“Manufacturers, brand owners and retailers are increasingly focused on ensuring there is transparency within their supply chains. A huge part of this is knowing – and trusting – where their product comes from. This is of particular importance as brands make claims associated with provenance and want to be reassured their product – in this case, Supima cotton – isn’t being contaminated by inferior products coming from undesirable sources.”
Cochrane says Oritain has used scientific analysis, backed by over 25 years of academic literature, to create a unique ‘fingerprint’ from the cotton samples that have been supplied by Supima.
“This fingerprint analysis identifies the different levels of chemical attributes that are found within the product itself, and enables us to verify the cotton against its claimed origin. Using this method, we will randomly test Supima cotton at the various stages of the supply chain and verify its origin and authenticity,” he explains.
The agreement comes on the heels of last year’s landmark partnership with the JG Boswell Company (a member of Supima) and its Australian subsidiary Auscott.