Better Cotton has released a traceability tool allowing companies to identify and disclose the origin of cotton used in their products, also tracking its impact along the supply chain.
The platform will allow retailers and brands to better understand the often complex cotton supply chains, comply with emerging regulations, and increase visibility by logging stakeholder input. Suppliers may also log transactional information so companies may disclose how much cotton is included within a product.
The traceability platform was developed over the course of three years, in close consultation with over 1,500 retailers and brands, such as H&M Group, Walmart, and Gap.
The fashion industry, known for generating large amounts of waste and creating fabrics from petrochemical derivatives, has recognized the need for better materials sourcing and promotion of circular practices. Sustainably sourced cotton has the potential to increase land-use efficiency, reduce energy consumption, mitigate soil loss, and overall improve the sector’s considerable environmental impact.
“Traceability at scale for cotton will drive a seismic shift within our industry’s supply chains,” Better Cotton CEO Alan McClay said. “Better Cotton’s traceability solution is poised to help the industry deliver that shift. Never before has transparency been as imperative as it is now to our retail and brand members. We’re grateful to every organization that has helped shape the development of the Better Cotton Platform and stand committed to its constant improvement.”
Expected Future of Scaling Traceable Cotton
Earlier this year, Better Cotton launched a Chain of Custody Standard, which includes requirements for suppliers aiming to trade traceable cotton. The company expects to further scale traceable cotton to benefit farmers and calculate the environmental impact of Better Cotton in comparison to conventional cotton.
The traceability platform also aims to serve as a foundation for an Impact Marketplace, which would compensate farmers for field-level progress, such as the implementation of regenerative agricultural practices or minimizing water usage. Eventually, impact investments may be made in cotton farming communities, further supporting widespread adoption of sustainable approaches to growing cotton. Life Cycle Assessments are also expected to be implemented to accurately calculate the environmental benefits of sustainably sourced cotton.
Tracking cotton supply chains with Better Cotton’s new platform may allow companies to better address the potential adverse effects of their business activities on the environment and identify necessary steps to improve their long-term sustainability efforts.