TRACING 25 MILLION GARMENTS THROUGH PIONEERING COLLAB
BESTSELLER is one of the first fashion retailers to scale a new blockchain solution and is thereby taking a remarkable step towards product traceability. Investments in traceability solutions are needed to make sure that consumers get products they can trust and simultaneously ensure compliance with expected EU requirements for digital product passports.
Following on from the close collaboration on several successful pilot projects, BESTSELLER is now expanding its partnership with innovator TextileGenesis to trace man-made cellulosic fibres and direct-to-farm cotton throughout BESTSELLER’s supply chain.
Specifically, we will this year trace the fibres in approximately 25 million pieces of garments from raw material to end product. That already represents around seven percent of our total volume – a figure that will increase steadily in the coming years if this project meets its objectives.
“Through our collaboration with TextileGenesis, we can ensure transparency and validation for a significant part of our fibres and products. It feeds directly into our Fashion FWD strategy, and will not only affect BESTSELLER, but can lead the entire fashion industry in a more transparent and sustainable direction,” says Danique Lodewijks, Senior Project Specialist at BESTSELLER Sustainability.
From 2024, the EU is expected to introduce a requirement for each product to have a digital passport, which provides information about the product’s environmental sustainability. TextileGenesis’ solution will help us meet those requirements, marking a major step forward for BESTSELLER – and for the fashion industry in general.
“On some parameters, we have certainly not come far enough in the fashion industry when it comes to the ability to trace all our products, which will be a future requirement. Neither in BESTSELLER. On the other hand, with this collaboration we are taking a big step ahead of many others, as we already from this year are able to track several million products from start to finish,” says Danique Lodewijks.
Monitoring the entire supply chain
Together with a group of key suppliers, BESTSELLER is now embarking on the first part of the platform's implementation phase. The project will require significant input from the suppliers, who will now have to use TextileGenesis’ new platform. The hope for them is that this becomes an industry-wide tool, equipping them with the capacity to deliver product level-transparency in line with the expected EU legislation.
“We will gather feedback from the suppliers and with their input our objective is to create a system that is both workable and scalable for the entire supply chain. If this solution works the way it is intended, it would be a profound step forward in supply chain transparency,” says Pernille Bruun, Materials Manager in BESTSELLER Global Supply Chain.
“Through this platform we can trace every step in the production process, giving us access to information we have not had previously, and enabling us to deliver stronger transparency to our company and customers,” she adds.
Driving traceability at scale
The implementation of TextileGenesis’ technology has demanded a close collaboration with everyone involved working as one global team with on-boarding and training of hundreds of suppliers across more than 10 countries.
“BESTSELLER has an extremely open, pragmatic yet bold approach to creating end-to-end supply chain traceability. This collaboration has challenged us to continuously innovate and create one of the most pioneering traceability systems in the industry,” says Amit Gautam, TextileGenesis' founder and CEO.
In total, TextileGenesis expects to roll out their solution to 400-500 suppliers across all tier levels.
“Focusing on complete fibre-to-retail traceability at scale, BESTSELLER is at the cutting-edge in the industry. It’s a significant step forward for the fashion industry, and partnerships like
this one really pave the way for the entire industry to think and act boldly when it comes to supply chain traceability and transparency,” Amit Gautam concludes.
How does it work?
- TextileGenesis is a web-based cloud solution designed specifically for the fashion industry to trace fibres as they move along the supply chain.
- Traceability is the ability to trace all processes from procurement of raw materials through production, consumption and disposal, and provides data on when, where and who made the product.
- All products are made of multiple fibres that go through a spinning, weaving, dyeing and manufacturing process. TextileGenesis’ systems register and verify transactions between these processes.
- The system creates a digital twin ('Fibercoin') of every kg of branded or certified material at the source and tracks it across the entire textile value chain, thereby eliminating the need for any PDF/paper-based traceability approaches.
- No material can be double or triple-counted, thus reducing the counterfeiting or fraud risk across the supply chain – enabling a 'closed loop' traceability system.
- The system does not rely on large serves (unlike some blockchain technologies such as cryptocurrency-based platforms) and is therefore relatively energy efficient.