From Fibre To Finish To Scale: Tracing Viscose And Beyond
22 June 2021
AMSTERDAM – Today, on World Rainforest Day, Fashion for Good celebrates the successful completion of the Viscose Traceability Pilot, a consortium project with Fashion for Good partners BESTSELLER and Kering to trace sustainable viscose in garments using innovator TextileGenesis’ blockchain tracing solution. With an estimated 30% 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.
“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.” – Katrin Ley, Managing Director, Fashion for Good
Facilitated by Fashion for Good, the consortium project is a collaboration with BESTSELLER and Kering with support from Zalando. 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, made with varying compositions; from 100% sustainable viscose – produced by Lenzing, ENKA and Tangshan Sanyou, to blends with generic fibres, were traced through 25 suppliers from seven countries; Austria, Germany, Italy, Turkey, India, Bangladesh, and China.
“At Kering we believe that innovation is crucial to reach our sustainability targets. Part of the work we’re doing at our Materials Innovation Lab since 2013 is to identify materials that can lower our impact on people and the planet while continuing offering our Luxury Houses fabrics and textiles that meet the highest standards of quality for their collections. 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% traceability for our key materials by 2025.” – Christian Tubito, Head of Materials Innovation, Kering
THREE KEY PROOF POINTS PROVIDED
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: CAPTURING REAL-WORLD COMPLEXITY
The TextileGenesis platform uses Fibercoins as their blockchain based digital tokens which provide a “digital twin” for sustainable fibres. 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.
Thanks to this tokenisation model, the platform demonstrated its flexibility in capturing the broad, real-world complexity of vertically-integrated suppliers, covering steps from fibre production through to garment production, and highly fragmented supply chains. This provided new insights on product flow while also illustrating the importance of combining both physical tracers and digital components, to amplify one another towards a more robust traceability system.
INTEROPERABILITY; COMBINING THE DIGITAL AND PHYSICAL
With many traceability technologies on the market today, the TextileGenesis platform is able to operate across all standards, platforms and industries, aggregating and incorporating these into a single system. This allows brands visibility over their products and demonstrates its industry wide application.
The incorporation of physical tracer certificates demonstrates the interoperability of the platform, that is its ability to communicate and aggregate information from other systems. Through this consortium project, future upgrades of the TextileGenesis platform will integrate Canopy Hot-Button Ranking data and next generation viscose lines which will not only be available to the participating pilot brands, but to all other brands using the platform.
As part of this pilot, the unique physical traceability techniques used by Lenzing and ENKA were incorporated onto the platform and, for the first time ever, different physical traceability techniques were integrated in a single platform at the garment-level.
Simultaneously on-boarding the 25 suppliers in a short span of four to six weeks, they were able to independently use the system after a single training session – indicating the scalability of the platform in terms of rapid on-boarding of suppliers and ease of use.
“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 BESTSELLER’s existing digital systems – achieving one success at a time.” – Camilla Skjønning Jørgensen, Sustainable Materials & Innovation Manager, BESTSELLER
EXPANDING IN VISCOSE AND SCALING INTO OTHER FIBRES
Due to the success of this pilot, the TextileGenesis platform and solution will be scaled with Fashion for Good 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.
“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.” – Amit Gautam, CEO and Founder, Textile Genesis
Read more about the project and its outcomes on the Fashion for Good Resource Library