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Better Cotton Launches Traceability Solution Based on Input from Leading Retailers

Better Cotton-Eugenie Bacher

Utilizing input from retailers including Walmart, Marks & Spencer, Target, Gap and C&A, sustainability organization Better Cotton has introduced a new traceability tool that will provide visibility into cotton’s journey through the supply chain. The Better Cotton Platform will give member retailers and brands greater confidence that they are sourcing product from a specific country, helping them incorporate insights into their own supply chains for due diligence activities.

“Cotton supply chains are particularly complex,” said Alan McClay, CEO of Better Cotton in a blog post. “The geographical journey of the cotton in a T-shirt can span three continents before it reaches the shop floor, often changing hands seven times or more, with agents, intermediaries and traders operating at every stage. And there’s no one clear path — cotton bales from different countries can be spun into the same yarn and sent to multiple different mills to be woven into fabric.”

Using the Better Cotton Platform — operated by the software company ChainPoint — suppliers will log transactional information, culminating in visibility of where Better Cotton has originated from and how much of it is found in a product. Traceability will span the cotton ginning stage right through to the retailer or brand. Better Cotton launched a Chain of Custody Standard earlier in 2023, providing suppliers with the requirements for trading traceable cotton.

Better Cotton, which now represents more than 20% of global cotton production, plans to scale the availability and sourcing granularity of its solution in coming years in order to:

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  • Serve as the foundation for an Impact Marketplace that would compensate farmers for field-level progress;
  • Enable country-level Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) to calculate the environmental impact of Better Cotton in relation to conventional cotton; and
  • Provide credible consumer- and business-facing claims.

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