Wayne Buchen, Vice President of Strategic Sales at Applied DNA Sciences, a provider of supply chain security, anti-counterfeiting and anti-theft technologies in a recent event was quoted saying that the apparel retailers and brands are still too dependent on traditional supply chain authentication methods. According to Buchen, as brands are moving closer to the consumer with their production processes, the confusion with suppliers offering them 100 per cent authentic supplies is something they can’t ignore. Then there is the question of duplication too.
As an answer to identifying the authenticity of the supply chain, Applied DNA’s CertainT® platform has been designed that tackles this question with three technology pillars in mind—tag, test and track—enabling brands to tag both raw materials and end products with a unique molecular identifier. As the material or product travels throughout the global supply chain, the identifier can then be tested for its presence by anyone who has a SigNify® in-field mobile authentication device. All the data points associated with tagging and testing, which can include information regarding chain of custody, geolocation, date or time stamp and lot or serial number, are tracked by uploading to a secure cloud database.
There’s more to authentication testing and some major technologies that the supply chain can benefit from are as follows:
Tracing with ease
Due to rapid advancements in technology and the dynamic international business environment, supply chains are evolving into ‘supply chain networks’. That’s why a more integrated form of supply chain is the need of the hour that integrates widespread technologies into its very architecture and design.
Lenzing Group, an Austrian leading provider of sustainably produced specialty fibres for global textile and nonwoven industries, has recently announced the extension of its fibre identification technology to Tencel branded lyocell and modal fibres. This helps Lenzing further tighten its commitment to providing supply chain transparency along the entire textile production process. Lenzing’s fibre identification technology provides physical identification of fibre origin at different stages of textile products such as the fabric and garment level. This enables full traceability of the fibre, protects from counterfeiting and provides assurance to brands and retailers that their products are made from Tencel branded lyocell and modal fibres.
“As the awareness for sustainability grows, we see the need to continuously improve transparency and traceability of our products, so as to make sure our brand credentials are well protected and trusted by industry stakeholders and consumers,” Florian Heubrandner, Vice President, Global Textiles Business at Lenzing AG, announced through a press meet. Lenzing is positive that this will enable the textile industry to become more sustainable, as well as ensure their brand partners the credibility to communicate their sustainability efforts and combat greenwashing.
Making that move
Facilitated by Fashion for Good, the Viscose Traceability Project was launched in December last year in collaboration with leading brands BESTSELLER and Kering which were to provide the eight garment styles to be traced for the pilot, with fibres sourced from three leading sustainable viscose producers. Fashion for Good has just confirmed the success of this pilot which was put to fruition by TextileGenesis™.
TextileGenesis™ designs traceability applications for use across the entire textile value chain, from fibre to finished goods. They had provided the blockchain solution and platform to trace the origins of the viscose used in the garments along the supply chains of the two participating brands. These supply chains, consisting of spinners, weavers, knitters, dye-houses and garment makers, spanning across a total of eight countries, reflected the real-world complexities and various supply-chain scenarios to fully test the flexibility and scalability of the platform.
Fortunately, pioneering this mammoth task, TextileGenesis™ has solved the fibre authentication successfully. TextileGenesis’ blockchain tracing solution has estimated that 30 per cent of viscose is sourced from endangered forests. This validation of TextileGenesis’ solution, is an important step towards transparency in the value chain, and further stresses that fibres originate from renewable sources.
Tagging it right
Rightfully, all garments sold must have a physical care and content label that communicates the product information, such as washing instructions and material composition of the apparel. This information is not only helpful for the consumers, but is also vital for recyclers and resellers as it allows them to easily identify what the garment is made of after the original owner has disposed it.
In an attempt to further make tracing and tracking easy at every juncture across the supply chain, Avery Dennison has announced a partnership with Los Angeles-based Ambercycle, a post-consumer garment recycler to launch Digital Care Labels. These labels will revolutionise and make a gamut of information accessible to every stakeholder and consumer across the supply chain. A simple QR code scan is all you need to know what went in the backend for your product and how you can care for it to make it last long. Moreover, chemical management testing company Eurofins Chem-MAP has announced a partnership with BeVeg, the world’s only ISO-accredited vegan technical standard, trademark and program. Eurofins Chem-MAP’s vegan apparel and footwear verification testing programme has now been approved and listed with US-based BeVeg as a way of verifying products, materials and chemicals as vegan.
This is another step in helping the industry acknowledge and easily verify processes and practices all across the supply chain before getting a product certified as vegan. Much is happening on the technology and innovation front that is ready to hand hold the supply chain towards traceability, all we need to do is identify and adapt!