Interloop is making serious strides in its long-term commitment to responsible manufacturing, but its newest technology offering may be its biggest development yet. The fully integrated manufacturer of hosiery, denim, apparel and seamless activewear has introduced Looptrace, a proprietary solution that aims to provide end-to-end traceability for cotton-derived products, from their origin at the farm throughout the production process.
Launched in September 2021, the Looptrace platform is designed to allow supply chain stakeholders to track, trace and access transparent raw material information, helping both Interloop and its partners meet shared sustainability goals.
Stemming from the company’s belief in the phrase “you cannot manage what you don’t measure,” this system is built to record and share all key information on demand at every point of the supply chain.
The platform was developed in partnership with IT services and consulting provider Octans Digital after Interloop received collective insight from brand partners who desired products that were traceable to their origin, trackable for supply chain visibility and transparent for environmental impact.
“Interloop is committed to using digital technologies to enable traceable, trackable and transparent supply chain for our products,” said Yaqub Ahsan, chief information officer, Interloop.
Looptrace targets three areas where it shares information with all partners. The first area, which is completed, is the material (the raw material used in the product from its source). The next two areas, which are currently in development, will include the machine (the route the product has taken for all value addition steps); and the man (the team of people that have worked on the product).
“Cotton, in both its virgin and recycled forms, is an indispensable fiber in our products and is vital to our business. It is used in a diverse array of fabrics and materials, which in turn are incorporated into a diverse range of products,” said Faryal Sadiq, vice president, sales and marketing, Interloop. “Cotton farming is critical to the economic wellbeing of communities around the world and a number of methods are used to grow it—some more sustainable than others. For those reasons, we are committed to leveraging our scale to drive positive change within the cotton industry.”
For Interloop, sustainable cotton farming means maximizing water efficiency, optimizing inputs and chemical use, improving soil health and prioritizing ethical working conditions. But now, they can complement these actions by getting farmer partners involved with Looptrace.
Approximately 8,000 farmers are so far taking part in this project, but the number is continuously growing as Interloop brings more farms on board. All farmers have a unique info profile in the system consisting of their identity, town or region, and the production unit where they work.
After IDing the farmers, Interloop then records the crop type and the cotton picked at the source, essentially geotagging the farm. Crop batches are then assigned individual IDs on the way from the farm to the ginner. Once the batches are converted to bales, each bale is assigned a scannable QR code.
The same system is then applied through the yarn spinning and dyeing processes. Here, Interloop creates QR codes for the yarns, completing the end-to-end process and allowing the company to trace back the process all the way to the farm. All of this is managed through the Looptrace mobile app and its web interface.
The Interloop team describes Looptrace as a dynamic project that is continuously growing and adding more complex layers to support its sustainable cotton farming initiatives. As such, the project has more updates in its pipeline.
At present, Looptrace provides cotton yarn tracing back to its origin. But Interloop plans to expand it to trace a finished product back to its origin. Other features under development for brand partners include order-level tracking and transparency in terms of SKU-level environmental footprint.
To aid it in establishing transparency and material integrity, the company launched Interloop Organic Kapas (ILOK), a project designed to develop a local organic cotton supply chain in Pakistan. Pakistan is one of the largest cotton-producing countries in the world, but accounts for less than 1 percent of global organic cotton production.
Interloop’s aim is to promote organic cotton production in Pakistan, which has clear and established environmental and social benefits to the local supply chain, including climate impact mitigation, soil health improvement, water conservation, and biodiversity and farmer livelihood improvement.
Thus far, Interloop has piloted ILOK with 2,000 farms, and plans to increase this number gradually to 6,000 farms. The manufacturer is collaborating with the Organic Cotton Accelerator (OCA), a farmer-centric organization that supports and safeguards the social and environmental wellbeing of organic cotton farming communities. Interloop will launch a pilot under OCA’s Farm Programme, which will contribute to improving farmer livelihoods, protect biodiversity of their land and promote organic and regenerative agriculture.
“Our vision for transparency is broader and includes visibility into our own production processes, quality data, and compliance of our facilities as well as enabling our supply chain partners to also achieve high levels of environmental and social performance,” Ahsan said. “All our facilities are registered on the Higg Index and we are now in the process of inducting our suppliers onto the platform as well.”
Interloop initially had a goal to source 70 percent of its materials from sustainable origins by 2025, but it has already achieved that milestone, according to Sadiq. Now, the company has signed up for Textile Exchange’s 2025 Sustainable Cotton Challenge, which encourages participants to commit to source 100 percent of their cotton from the most sustainable sources.
Going forward, the Looptrace and ILOK projects will give Interloop an advantage in building out a more sustainable, traceable cotton supply chain across Pakistan.
Learn more about Interloop Limited here.