The textile industry is responding to consumer demands for transparency, with fashion brands adopting QR codes on garments to disclose information like fiber content, country of origin, and recycling instructions.
However, achieving transparency remains a challenge, as indicated by a recent report from #WhoMadeMyCotton. The report highlights the industry’s size as a major obstacle, leading to fragmentation that hinders transparency efforts.
The lack of a standardized tracking system for cotton across countries is a significant roadblock. Varying farm sizes and cotton bales with multiple sources make accurate measurement difficult, especially in countries like China, India, and the U.S.
The study emphasizes that the lack of collaboration among entities perpetuates the transparency issue. This opacity benefits producers involved in fraudulent practices, such as India’s organic cotton fraud and China’s labor law violations. To improve transparency, the report suggests harmonizing tracing technologies, but acknowledges that achieving this goal will take time.
Creating networks of smaller systems through organizations like Cotton-Connect, Better Cotton, and Cotton Made in Africa, leveraging blockchain technology for accurate tracking, could be a solution. While the demand for certified organic cotton exceeds current production, the industry is gradually adopting digitalization to enhance data availability and accountability.
Companies like Ecom have implemented blockchain-based traceability systems, allowing clients access to relevant documents for their cotton purchases. Other initiatives are underway, utilizing DNA markers and blockchain platforms to authenticate cotton origins.
However, the cotton industry’s established practices prove resistant to change, with cotton merchants remaining largely unknown to denim professionals. The report suggests that building partnerships between brands and cotton traders can drive progress, facilitating traceable sourcing methods and advancing sustainability goals.
By Fashionating World