Transparency, traceability and provenance are the industry’s new buzz words
Savvy consumers are increasingly interested in the ethical practices of the companies they buy their cotton goods from – they want to make confident, informed choices about their purchases.
Traditionally, supply chains have been opaque, no-one asked about provenance.
But now, transparency is key and while consumers are happy to share information about themselves with the businesses they buy from, they expect brands to do the same.
Under the spotlight
Brands are being put under the spotlight like never before. Consumers want to know all about the products they consume, where they originate and how they were made.
Reports of misrepresentation have forced major retailers to closely examine suppliers’ cotton certification records and validate their products. By highlighting the importance of traceability and transparency, this has massive implications for textile manufacturers.
At English Fine Cottons, provenance is enshrined in our company values. It’s vital we know the raw materials we use are exactly what we believe them to be, so that our customers can be sure they’re buying exactly what they want.
No compromise on transparency
We buy our cotton directly from the growers. We avoid buying from agents so that we’re certain of one hundred per cent traceability.
And we quite literally go to the ends of the earth to get to know our suppliers. We’ve travelled to North America, India and Barbados to inspect the farms where our cotton is grown to ensure our products are not compromised.
For example, our Supima cotton comes directly from the Californian farms of one of the world’s foremost growers, J G Boswell. Every bale of raw cotton we receive from Boswell’s comes with its own unique number. This allow us to trace the bale back to the day it was harvested and find out the very field, and even which part of the field, it came from – guaranteeing real consistency in our cotton’s main characteristics, colour and length.
Our handling processes at Tower Mill are also all about traceability. Our systems are robust and able to track every delivery into our warehouse.
When we receive the containers, the bale numbers are recorded and logged into our stock system.
Every time we load the bale plucker, we use bales from the same master batch, controlling the fibre from each batch through to the finished cones of yarn. Each cone of yarn has a unique number – assuring complete traceability from the grower right through to the finished yarn.
britspun® – does what it says on the tin
To further help our customers, we’re continuing to develop our britspun® brand.
Where our customers can validate their own supply chain, they’ll soon be able to use the britspun® label on their products – allowing them to truly claim British provenance to their discerning clients.