Zurich-based Haelixa is taking part in a United Nations pilot project with the Costach cooperative and textile company Creditex in Peru, aiming to give sustainable rural cotton producers of the country more visibility in the value chain.
In 2019, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) set up an initiative to drive transparency and traceability for sustainable value chains in the garment and footwear industry.
The initiative is jointly implemented with the International Trade Centre (ITC) and financially supported by the European Union. With the additional support of the +Cotton Project, implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Brazilian Cooperation Agency (ABC), a pilot is being realised to mark and trace the finest Pima cotton for Creditex directly at its gin in Piura, Peru.
Haelixa’s DNA marker connects the lint cotton to the entry on a blockchain system provided by UNECE. The Haelixa technology ensures that the information about the product origin and the journey of the product along the value chain is always safely embedded into the product itself. The marked cotton will be used to make exclusive fabrics for luxury California sleepwear brand Cat’s Pajamas.
DNA traceability will enable the verification of the premium origin of the cotton in the final garment produced using sustainable practices by family farmers associated with the Costach cooperative, which consists of 5,200 family farmers in the Piura region, producing mostly extra long Pima cotton. Since 2017, the +Cotton project has been supporting the farmers with training on sustainable practices and has been providing technical assistance for improved markets access.
Creditex is vertically integrated from cotton ginning to the production of high quality apparel for international premium brands. The company takes social responsibility and environmental stewardship very seriously and makes a strong partner for this project.
“Physical traceability becomes a key element in creating awareness for the producers of the raw material and manufacturers that are at the beginning of the value chain as consumers want to know who made their garments and under which circumstances they have been produced,” said Gediminas Mikutis, CTO and co-founder of Haelixa. “For brands, traceability provides not only an important mechanism to support their sustainability claims, but is also a great starting point for storytelling, giving partners in the supply chain a face and voice.”