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Haelixa to trace Peru’s Pima cotton supply chains

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2022-04-20 12:31:01 – Switzerland

Haelixa is currently implementing a pilot project with the Costach Cooperative and Peruvian textile company Creditex to give sustainable rural cotton producers in Peru more visibility in the value chain, as part of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) initiative to improve transparency and traceability in the garment and footwear industry.

In 2019, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) launched an effort to promote transparency and traceability in the garment and footwear industries. The effort is being carried out in collaboration with the International Trade Centre (ITC) and is being funded by the European Union.

Haelixa is honored to be a member of the expert group that develops policy recommendations and traceability standards, as well as programs to establish traceability benchmarks. A pilot is being carried out in this context with the support of the +Cotton Project, which is being implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Brazilian Cooperation Agency (ABC), to mark and trace the finest Pima cotton for Creditex directly at the gin in Piura, Peru. Haelixa's DNA tag links the actual lint cotton to an entry on UNECE's blockchain system.

The Haelixa technology ensures that information about the product's origins and travels through the value chain is always securely incorporated into the product. The marked cotton will be used to make exclusive pyjamas sets for Cat´s Pajamas. The use of DNA tracking will allow the premium provenance of Peruvian Pima cotton in the finished garment to be verified, as will the use of sustainable farming practices by family farmers affiliated with the Costach cooperative.

Costach is Peru's largest cotton farmers' cooperative. The Piura Cotton Cooperative is made up of 5,200 family farmers that produce predominantly extremely long fiber Pima Cotton. Since 2017, the +Cotton project has provided farmers with training in sustainable farming practices as well as technical help for enhanced market access.

Adriana Gregolin, regional coordinator of the +Cotton Project said: that FAO, in collaboration with the Brazilian Cooperation Agency and the Ministry of Rural Development and Irrigation (MIDAGRI) of Peru, is supporting the strengthening of capacities of family farmers, who account for approximately 100% of Peruvian producers. This entails addressing and assisting them with crucial concerns such as digitalization and market access in order to increase rural development while maintaining equity, as the UNECE traceability effort now does.

Maria Teresa Pisani, project-lead at UNECE, said that traceability and transparency are critical to ensuring that environmental, human rights, and social concerns are effectively identified and addressed throughout garment and footwear value chains, particularly upstream. They’re grateful for their partners' confidence in and dedication to UN/CEFACT criteria for tracking and tracing the sustainability of cotton goods. Tracing products from farm to shelf and beyond is an important step in the textile industry's transformation to more responsive customer choices and sustainable and circular business models.

Ricardo Yarleque, general manager of Costach, said that for COSTACH, it is crucial to engage in traceability projects that allow the inclusion and visibility of the important role of small family farmers in the production of Peruvian cotton. Peruvian cotton fiber is among the world's longest and finest, as well as being of the best quality and produced in a sustainable manner. They understand that there is no existence without farmers.

Creditex is vertically integrated, producing high-quality clothes for international premium brands from cotton ginning to fine thread. Because the corporation values social responsibility and environmental stewardship, it is an excellent partner for this project, empowering the cotton family farmers who produce the majority of the country's cotton.

Ricardo Dancuart, Creditex commercial manager for the Yarn Division, said that sustainability and traceability of products are now very crucial both for the final client as well as for the global environment. They’re really interested in this novel technique of following the fiber from ginning to garment, while simultaneously improving all processes to decrease contamination and damage caused by the industry, resulting in better and more sustainable products.

Gediminas Mikutis, CTO and co-founder of Haelixa, said that physical traceability becomes a critical aspect in establishing awareness for raw material producers and manufacturers at the beginning of the value chain since consumers want to know who made their products and under what conditions they were made. For businesses, traceability is not only a critical tool for proving their sustainability claims, but it also serves as a wonderful starting point for storytelling, giving their supply chain partners a face and a voice.

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