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Transformers Catalysts: Denim Experts Champion Traceable Cotton

As sustainable denim becomes a norm, the industry calls for more innovation in supply chain transparency. Tracking the entire denim supply chain process from seed to shelf has become a common demand, as consumers become increasingly educated on sustainability and expect it from their favorite brands.

At Transformers Catalysts on Tuesday, Transformers’ first digital event as a foundation, experts throughout the denim supply chain championed Good Earth Cotton, a carbon positive, traceable cotton that answers consumers’ calls for ethical supply chains.

Described as “Earth’s most ethical cotton,” Good Earth Cotton sources the crop from Sundown Pastoral Co., one of the biggest cotton growers in Australia. The company, which is owned by FiberTrace shareholders Danielle and David Statham, uses regenerative farming techniques to ensure the crop sequesters more CO2 than it produces.

According to John Condilis, managing director at Nobody Denim, partnering with the company “just made sense.”

“Knowing that they’re one of the biggest cotton growers in Australia, and it’s a premium product that’s so aligned with what we do, I thought it was just a no-brainer,” Condilis said. “It just made sense, and here we are today still continuing to build on that.”

Part of what makes the company stand out is its affiliation with FibreTrace, a nanotech tracking system powered by a blockchain-based platform. Tracing fibers are mixed into cotton fibers so the resulting fabric can be scanned throughout the supply chain in order to verify GPS, environmental and ethical data. Once the garment is in the consumers’ hands, they can access the same information with their smartphone by scanning a QR code or alternative method based on the brand’s choosing.

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“[FibreTrace] has created not only the B2B component, but we’ve tried to create a consumer interaction piece,” said Shannon Mercer, FibreTrace’s director of business development and communications. “So we’ve solved the puzzle in terms of a total traceability and transparency solution for brands.”

It’s a technology that has caught the attention of denim mills.

Orta Anadolu director Sedef Uncu Aki, a big supporter of the technology, pointed out, “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.” While she wishes it could incorporate data on recycled cotton, she’s excited to see how the solution will evolve.

“I really believe that this product can actually have a positive impact on the environment,” said Uncu Aki. “It’s a very good example of resilient thinking, which we’ve been discussing since the beginning of the pandemic. We need to reassess every practice and every process we have in place in order to ensure that we are proactive, not reactive, to the unforeseen forces and sharing the good feeling that you’re all in this together.”