Closing the loop on traceability

Announcements Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

BCI is now implementing the final step to establish end-to-end online traceability for Better Cotton products.

In January 2016, BCI added garment manufacturers to its traceability system, the Better Cotton Tracer. This addition marked the completion of “end-to-end” traceability, allowing BCI to verify the volumes of Better Cotton being sourced by our retailers and brands through products and suppliers from field to store.

The development of the Better Cotton Tracer started in 2013. Initially, ginners, traders, spinners, and retailers and brands were the only supply chain actors to have access to the Tracer. Over a period of less than three years, the system has been developed to include fabric mills, import-export companies, traders of yarns and fabrics, and finally garment manufacturers – so that all actors in the supply chain can now record their transactions.

“The Better Cotton Tracer is the most widely-used and the only end-to-end traceability system of its kind in the cotton industry. Any ginner, merchant, supplier, agent or retailer can use our system no matter where they are located in the world for any Better Cotton-related raw material or finished product: from seed cotton to t-shirts. It is simple, lean and user-friendly, which are the keys for developing a system that could be used by a ginner in Africa, a supplier in Turkey or a retailer in San Francisco with equal ease,” says BCI Supply Chain Manager, Kerem Saral.

End-to-end traceability simplifies the administrative process for Better Cotton sourcing, particularly for retailer and brand members who drive Better Cotton uptake. Having an end-to-end traceability system allows BCI retailer and brand members to receive documentation and information about the volume of Better Cotton they source electronically. Added simplicity for BCI’s members helps to support our mission of establishing Better Cotton as a responsible mainstream solution.

The Better Cotton Tracer records how much Better Cotton is sourced by any user in the supply chain. Actors in the supply chain record the number of Better Cotton Claim Units (BCCUs) they received with a product, such as yarn, and allocate these units to the product sold the next actor, such as fabric, so that the amount “allocated” does not exceed the amount “received.” Although BCI’s current system does not physically trace Better Cotton through the supply chain, end-to-end traceability strengthens the credibility of Better Cotton claims made by our retailer and brand members.

To learn more about BCI’s Chain of Custody, watch our short video.