Better Cotton and retraced implement cutting-edge digital traceability solutions enhancing transparency across cotton supply chains

2 Minute Read

As part of Better Cotton's large scale cotton traceability pilot project, retraced helps to enhance transparency in India's cotton supply chains. Better Cotton, the largest cotton sustainability program in the world, has been working to improve its Chain of Custody (CoC) model to revolutionize traceability in complex cotton supply chains. This pilot project aims to expand on this work by using both digital and physical traceability solutions.

Piloting advanced traceability technologies to drive positive change in the industry

This pilot program is a significant step towards transparency and sustainability in the cotton supply chain. Better Cotton is piloting advanced traceability technologies from leading platforms retraced and TextileGenesis alongside two additive tracers Haelixa, and Tailorlux to enhance transparency in cotton supply chains in India. To inform the scaled direction of Better Cotton's traceability system, set to be launched later this year, the pilot is supported by global companies including C&A, Marks and Spencer, Target, and Walmart. This enables Better Cotton to build strong relationships with suppliers, brands, and retailers, driving positive change in the industry.

Retraced's platform for traceability in the fashion industry enables Better Cotton to accurately track cotton as it moves throughout the supply chain. In this pilot program transaction-level data will be recorded with retraced's fiber-forward tracing features, providing full end-to-end visibility in India's complex fashion supply chains. 

Using digital and physical traceability solutions to improve the Chain of Custody (CoC) model

As part of the pilot program, retraced and Better Cotton jointly collect data over the course of nine months. Retraced has onboarded several supply chain actors including ginning mills, fabric processors, and garment manufacturers through a platform training program, concurrently with Better Cotton's CoC Training. Key users have been identified and trained to successfully implement the CoC models on fiber-forward features. The suppliers involved have given a lot of positive feedback so far providing learnings to be implemented in the project moving forward. 

Achieving the goal of increasing transparency and ensuring sustainable cotton production

Better Cotton is taking a big step towards achieving its goal of increasing transparency and ensuring sustainable cotton production. The project will improve efficiency, reduce waste, and minimize the risk of fraud or errors in the supply chain. 

After consulting with our members across the supply chain and getting to grips with their needs and pain points, we’ve taken those learnings and tested solutions in India to bring traceable Better Cotton to life. What we’ve found is helping us to prepare to offer a scalable new system to our members as early as this year. Not only will this benefit our members, but it will benefit farmers who implement sustainable agricultural practices by ensuring they can continue to access increasingly regulated markets.

 Alan McClay, CEO of Better Cotton

At M&S, we source 100% of the cotton for our clothing from more responsible sources, however, across the industry the global supply chain remains particularly complex. Since 2021, we have been proud partners working with Better Cotton to improve cotton farming globally. We’re delighted to be building on our partnership and trialling innovative new traceability solutions in India’s cotton supply chains, in order to revolutionise the wider industry.

 Katharine Beacham, Head of Materials and Sustainability at Marks & Spencer

Better Cotton's India traceability pilot activities are supported in part by the Verité STREAMS project, a traceability project funded by the U.S. Department of Labor under cooperative agreement number IL-35805. The pilot program is a significant step towards a more transparent and sustainable future in the cotton industry, benefiting everyone from farmers to retailers.