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Fashion for Good project with Bestseller and Kering demonstrates tracing of viscose

By Simone Preuss

24 Jun 2021

Business

Kazuend / Unsplash

Global sustainability initiative Fashion for Good reported the successful completion of its Viscose Traceability Pilot in time for World Rainforest Day on 22nd June 2021. The pilot is a consortium project with partners Bestseller and Kering and supported by Zalando to trace sustainable viscose in garments using innovator TextileGenesis’ blockchain tracing solution. 

Bestseller and Kering each contributed four garment styles, totalling around 23,000 product units, which were cataloged and successfully tracked on the TextileGenesis platform. The garments were made with varying compositions from 100 percent sustainable viscose produced by Lenzing, ENKA and Tangshan Sanyou to blends with generic fibres. They were traced through 25 suppliers from seven countries: Austria, Germany, Italy, Turkey, India, Bangladesh and China. 

“Fashion for Good initiates projects such as the Viscose Traceability Pilot to share knowledge and learnings attained in critical challenge areas with the entire industry. Specifically, we want to inspire all players, innovators, suppliers and brands, to work towards and implement changes with the potential to shift the needle. We’re calling for industry-wide collaboration to embed and build on traceability solutions within the value chain, and ensure the protection of natural resources and forests,” said Katrin Ley, managing director, Fashion for Good, in a press release.

“The Viscose Traceability Pilot we’ve joined, led by Fashion For Good, is one of the options we’re looking at to support us in reaching our goal of 100 percent traceability for our key materials by 2025,” added Christian Tubito, head of materials innovation at Kering.

Three key dimensions: flexibility, interoperability and scalability

Three key dimensions were determined to be proof points against which to measure the success of the TextileGenesis platform and the pilot: flexibility, interoperability and scalability.  Flexibility was achieved using Fibercoins as blockchain-based digital tokens that provide a “digital twin” for sustainable fibres, thus capturing the broad, real-world complexity of vertically-integrated suppliers and covering steps from fibre production through to garment production, and highly fragmented supply chains.   

“Once a fibre is produced, every kilogram of that fibre is represented in the platform by one Fibercoin. Supply chain players can transfer these digital coins in parallel to the production of textile products as they move through the supply chain”, explained Fashion for Good.

Textile Genesis platform operates across all standards, platforms and industries

Interoperability was achieved by the fact that the TextileGenesis platform is able to operate across all standards, platforms and industries, aggregating and incorporating these into a single system, for example Lenzing’s and ENKA’s unique physical traceability techniques. This allows brands visibility over their products and demonstrates its industry wide application. 

“This was a true cross-industry consortium approach with broad engagement of brands, sustainable fibre producers, textile suppliers, and key industry stakeholders. In this pilot, we demonstrated that the digital supply chain traceability and physical tracer verification are complementary (not substitutes), and along with the traceability data protocol form the building blocks of a holistic system. Our vision is to become the industry’s technology backbone where fibre-to-retail supply chain transactions of all sustainable materials can be verified and tracked in a robust, reliable and scalable manner,” commented Amit Gautam, CEO and founder of Textile Genesis.

Simultaneously on-boarding the 25 suppliers in a short span of four to six weeks, who were able to independently use the system after a single training session, demonstrated the scalability of the platform in terms of rapid on-boarding of suppliers and ease of use. 

 

“With an estimated 30 percent of viscose sourced from endangered forests, the validation of TextileGenesis’ solution is an important step towards transparency in the value chain, and ensuring fibres originate from renewable sources. Proving the flexibility, interoperability as well as scalability of the TextileGenesis platform has prompted participating brands to explore further implementation of the technology, expanding the scope for viscose to also include other fibres,” said Fashion for Good. 

Taking the project beyond viscose

Given the success of the pilot project, Fashion for Good is now planning to scale the TextileGenesis platform and solution together with its partners beyond viscose to include other sustainable fibres such as organic cotton and recycled polyester. 

“Six other fibre players will independently be engaged in pilots for sustainable viscose, recycled polyester and organic cotton. Lenzing and Tangshan will continue to be engaged in the scaling phase of these pilots. This roadmap will also leverage TextileGenesis’ partnership with Textile Exchange, whom they are supporting to digitise traceability in their certifications, including recycled polyester, responsible wool or down and later organic cotton,” explained the organisation. 

“In this pilot, Bestseller has successfully traced more than 22,500 styles. We believe in the potential of this solution and have just agreed to an upscaled second pilot where we will double the number of supply chain partners – including spinners, weavers and manufacturers – and trace one million styles through a fibre-based approach. Starting out with viscose, we are now looking into organic cotton as well as the compatibility with Bestsellerś existing digital systems – achieving one success at a time,” confirmed Camilla Skjønning Jørgensen, sustainable materials & innovation manager at Bestseller.