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Cone Denim Establishes RCS Certified Supply Chain In Mexico

Cone Denim has a new certification to support its sustainability claims.

The Elevated Textiles-owned denim fabric manufacturer established a certified supply chain for recycled cotton in Mexico. This is in addition to both of its mills in Mexico already achieving Recycled Claim Standard (RCS) certification for fabrics.  

RCS is used as a chain of custody standard to track raw materials through the supply chain. Cone’s RCS certification now includes a closed-loop process for recycled cotton, providing clients with verification and documentation of recycled cotton used in the manufacturing of Cone Denim fabrics in the Western Hemisphere. 

The company’s mill in Parras, Mexico can produce up to 50 percent post-industrial waste (PIW) cotton in its denim fabric constructions. However, Cone said procuring certified recycled cotton for denim manufacturing in the hemisphere is more complex since the waste streams are not as established as those in the Eastern Hemisphere. 

Steve Maggard, Cone Denim president, said the company “went one step further” in having its fiber supplier certified. Cone “identified and engaged” with a third-party supplier in Mexico to certify its process for recycled cotton. The supplier was required to meet the certification standards established by Textile Exchange and certified by Control Union. Cone Denim received RCS certification and will undergo a yearly audit to maintain its standing.

“The demand for recycled cotton continues to grow,” Maggard said. “With this increased demand, we recognize the value for our customers to have third-party verification of the recycled content used in denim made by Cone.”

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Cone Denim’s closed-loop recycling process in Mexico establishes a small footprint for producing recycled yarn. The process to achieve RCS certification in Mexico with Control Union was led by Cone Denim’s product development team.

“The Organic Content Standard (OCS) and Recycled Content Standard (RCS) programs demonstrate companies’ commitment to sustainability for organic and recycled products. Both Textile Exchange programs have a strong structure and establish trust along the supply chain,” said Yemil Zarzar Kourniatis, Certifications Manager for Control Union in Mexico. “Cone Denim has been certified for the last four years, which is a result of not just strong teamwork but a genuine desire to impact our world by creating a sustainable business model.”

Cone’s efforts to trace its supply chain include an ongoing partnership with Oritain, a product and supply-chain traceability specialist. The mill uses Oritain’s cotton tracing technology to verify that the cotton used across its operations in China and Mexico are compliant with responsible sourcing.