Kering launches a fashion first: traceability innovation driven by forensic science

Kering launches a fashion first: traceability innovation driven by forensic science

Traceability is one of the crucial challenges to overcome in fashion’s complex global supply chains. Too often indirect sourcing is routine practice and the traditional business model set-up requires many sub-suppliers. This is not always transparent, making it impossible to follow the traceability to, in turn, verify best practices in the supply chain. 

Today, a technologically innovative initiative was launched to help solve this issue in cotton’s supply chains. As a first in fashion and Luxury, Kering has partnered with Albini Group, Supima and Oritain to create a more sustainable business model through 100% traceable organic cotton. Using forensic science and statistical analysis, the naturally-occurring chemical properties of the actual fibre is analyzed, creating a unique chemical fingerprint that links it back to the field in which it was grown. Subsequently, during every stage of the supply chain, the organic cotton can be verified to ensure the raw material, fabric and final product is consistent with the original fingerprint and has not been substituted, blended or tampered with. Only an exact match shows that the organic cotton is authentic.

Thanks to this procedure, each step is traceable and it is therefore possible to go back, from the finished fabric, precisely to the field in which the cotton was grown.  This pioneering innovation could help Kering come closer to its 2025 goal of 100% traceability in its overall supply chains. Utilizing this platform to understand the provenance of the cotton could enable Kering to implement complete supply chain verification for organic cotton production or the impact it has had on farmers, workers and the environment. This is especially significant where organic cotton is concerned for the Group, since over the last years organic cotton use in the brands’ collections has increased, given that Kering’s Environmental Profiting and Loss accounting analysis revealed that organic cotton’s impact on the environment is 80% less than conventional cotton.

Upon the announcement of the partnership, the Director of Kering’s Materials Innovation Lab, Cecilia Takayama, said:
“Traceability in fashion’s fragmented and global supply chains is imperative to create real change. At Kering we are focused on sustainable raw material sourcing and this innovative technology for our organic cotton supply chain will enable our Materials Innovation Lab greater visibility to verify farming best practices and fibre quality; ensure integrity within the supply chain; and guarantee alignment with our Kering Standards.“