Cotton merchant Reinhart with headquarters in Winterthur, will be the first to sell organic cotton from Africa that can be traced back to its source. The international company is using Haelixa's technology for invisible DNA markers for this purpose.
Reinhart currently sells labeled organic cotton from Tanzania's Mwanza Region to spinning mills. Haelixa from Kemptthal in the canton of Zurich has developed the technology to do this, which entails using unique DNA identifiers to fully trace consumer items, particularly organic and recycled textiles. The markers are put on the product material and remain permanently attached to it, creating a traceable physical fingerprint from the maker to the retailer.
According to the press statement, Reinhart was concerned that the Haelixa marker not only is safe for humans and the environment, but also that it is GMO-free, OekoTex Standard 100 compliant, and, most significantly, GOTS certified. GOTS is the world's premier organic fiber processing standard, incorporating ecological and social factors. The Haelixa traceability package, which was developed in 2016 as a spin-off from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich's Functional Material Laboratory, contains a variety of tests performed in Haelixa labs.
Marco Bänninger, head trader at Reinhart, said that they hear from their supply chain partners, notably retailers, that it is becoming increasingly vital to know exactly where the cotton originates from. Furthermore, they want to ensure that they will receive the cotton for which they have paid a premium. They want to provide their consumers with additional protection by using the Haelixa marking.
Gediminas Mikutis, CTO and co-founder of Haelixa, said that they’re very happy to be able to offer the first physically traceable organic cotton from Africa, which will be available to spinning mills through Reinhart. The traceability of the raw material will raise awareness of organic cotton grown in Africa. It is the first step toward farmers playing a larger part in the textile value chain.
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