By 2050, the World Economic Forum says our oceans will be home to more plastic than fish by weight. To most, that probably sounds like a nightmare. But for those who dream of the day when our impact on the planet can be reversed, home textile firm GHCL has launched a new line of bedding called REKOOP.
The collection is the first bedding line to use 100 percent source-verified recycled PET as well as cotton-recycled PET blended products. The material originates from post-consumer recycled PET derived from water bottles. The sustainable line uses less petroleum, results in fewer greenhouse gas emissions and has a lower carbon footprint than traditional polyester bedding.
Manu Kapur, president and CEO of GHCL Home Textiles, said you only have to look to consumer trends in food to know that shoppers today are more mindful of their purchases than ever. This movement, along with the company’s inherent ethos, led to REKOOP.
“With all things being equal or even nearly equal, consumer preferences today will be skewed towards products that are eco-friendly and recyclable,” he said. “Consumers will continue to support and buy products like REKOOP that are good for the environment with the understanding that the materials used to make those products are renewable, re-useable and recyclable.”
To capture and maintain that support, however, it’s important for brands to be able to demonstrate the veracity behind their product claims. Gone are the days when companies were likely to get away with greenwashing. Today’s consumer is educated and eager to learn as much as they can.
Rather than shy away from this inquisitiveness, GHCL is using it to REKOOP’s advantage.
To give the product an edge, GHCL turned to Applied DNA and its CertainT® platform, which embeds molecular tags into the plastic so that every fiber can be traced from spinning and weaving through finished fabric.
The unique molecular tag acts as an identifier for inputs and products, distinguishing them from others on the market, said MeiLin Wan, vice president, textile sales at Applied DNA Sciences. “Our customers see that CertainT can give them a market advantage the instant they begin to tag their products. Many raw materials look the same so it’s a big advantage to have your own molecular tag on your product and have it verified through forensic testing and tracking,” she said.
In the case of REKOOP, the result are sheets and pillowcases that match the claims listed on the package every time.
Though the science behind CertainT is sophisticated and complex, Kapur describes the process on integrating CertainT into his company’s processes in its facilities in India as “simple” thanks to the on-site support of the Applied DNA team.
This seamless integration and the bragging rights the technology affords has made CertainT a superior choice for GHCL.
“The claims that retailers and brands make based on paper or transaction-based certification from manufacturers, are not always totally reliable. These methods do not protect the product itself,” Kapur said. “The only way to secure complete source verification and authentication across the entire supply chain is to resort to forensic traceability, using Applied DNA’s proprietary CertainT platform.”
By offering product that’s verifiably what it says it is companies are better able to stand out, which is increasingly important in today’s crowded market, Wan said.
“Consumers have many choices today, and they can search for these choices quickly. Social networks through Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat also influence consumers so they can be easily swayed to follow one brand over another,” Wan said. “It’s not easy for brands, and this is why you don’t want to lose the connection you already have with the consumer. You want to build on it.”
These companies also need to win over their potential retail partners, a task CertainT can help with as well, she said. For instance, GHCL has found buyers to be more receptive of REKOOP —and the price point that reflects the quality and technology it carries—than they would have been otherwise, according to Kapur.
“Millennial and generation Z consumers value price and they also value authenticity,” he said. “We believe, and our market research substantiates, that consumers are willing to pay a little extra if they know for sure that product claims are absolutely, certainly true.”