BASF Agricultural Solutions’ blockchain platform enables tracing of sustainably produced FiberMax® cotton from seed to sew
- The “Seed 2 Sew” initiative enables proof for fashion brands interested in tracking and guaranteeing their sustainable cotton sourcing
- Hyperledger blockchain technology powered by Bext360 provides a complete view of the cotton supply chain, ensuring connectivity and trust between all partners
- Initial launch of the blockchain pilot is in Komotini, Greece, with fashion partner Athos Pallas showcasing sustainable cotton garments
BASF Agricultural Solutions has initiated a “Seed 2 Sew” pilot project to establish a blockchain platform as a response to one of the most complex supply chains – cotton production. Fashion brands can now be guaranteed greater transparency and traceability when sourcing sustainable cotton.
Classically, the traceability within the cotton value chain has been limited from ginning to end fabric. Farmers have often been left behind due to a mere lack of applications, infrastructure, and technology to record and certify their inputs. This leads to an information and trust gap in the textile industry.
To close this gap, BASF Agricultural Solutions has partnered with five farms in their existing Certified Sustainability FiberMax® cotton program and other local players along the cotton value chain in Greece – the largest cotton producing country in Europe – to guarantee a professional and transparent system of supplying sustainable cotton to the fashion industry. It follows the journey of a cotton garment starting from BASF seed all the way to retail. All the partners are within 250 km radius from Komotini to Thessaloniki, Greece, which additionally allows to reduce the carbon footprint of manufacturing cotton garments.
Bext360, a supply chain sustainability software service company, has partnered with BASF to digitalize the cotton supply chain onto a blockchain platform which uses Hyperledger to bring greater IT flexibility and lower energy use: 99.95% compared to earlier blockchain networks. Traceability and transparency are now in the hands of the end customer by using fully digitized and secure crypto blockchain technology, where every step along the value chain must be approved on a digital record by everyone on the network. “We are proud to advance our longstanding commitment to sustainability and digital advancement, leveraging the power of blockchain technology,” said Gustavo Palerosi Carneiro, Senior Vice President Agricultural Solutions EMEA & CIS at BASF Agricultural Solutions. “Offering such digital tools to farmers and consumers is another important step towards reaching our sustainability commitments”.
The project Seed 2 Sew depends on the joint vision and trust of multiple partners: the ginning partner Thrakika Ekkokkistria has been working with BASF since 2015, establishing the cotton farming program Certified Sustainable FiberMax® (CSF) which is the backbone of the blockchain Seed 2 Sew platform. The CSF cotton program ensures high agroecological standards verified by a third party and certified by Q-Cert, giving a premium to the community of enrolled farmers based on many defined sustainable parameters such as optimizing water and crop protection use, and soil fertility. All the farmers who have signed up to the CSF program are guaranteeing fair and careful working conditions and follow stewardship trainings to ensure responsible use of products and to enhance their personal safety during cotton production. “We are a third-generation family business and although sustainability is a top priority for our business, we must provide a win-win for all the partners in the value chain. We believe it is essential to give a financial premium to the CSF farmers for quality cotton and for following the CSF sustainability protocol to the letter!” said Emmanouela Kouroudi, Vice President of “Thrakika Ginning Mills”.
Since last year new value chain partners have joined the CSF program, which has enabled the Seed 2 Sew blockchain project. The fashion partner Athos Pallas has brought the manufacturing partners to the table and provides the connection to the fashion brands interested in sourcing premium quality, sustainable and traceable cotton. “Since we started sourcing CSF cotton last year, we have promoted Greek premium cotton that is sustainably produced and traceable. The response has been fantastic, increasing the quality as well as the quantity of the fashion brands interested in sustainability. Certifications are not always reliable in the textile industry and a blockchain that sources cotton will take the trust to another level,” explained Maria Karamba, Head of Sales, Athos Pallas.
After this first concept milestone, BASF will continue to work on the blockchain ensuring data points are covered during the current harvest and will explore the tokenization aspects available in every blockchain platform. These are a reward system for sustainable practices which could be used for offsetting and/or insetting carbon emissions in the value chain.
The partners will continue to outreach to fashion brands so that they can source the 5,000 cotton bales of certified and sustainably produced cotton that is traced in the blockchain, which has the potential of producing more than 6 million t-shirts.
About BASF’s Agricultural Solutions division
Farming is fundamental to provide enough healthy and affordable food for a rapidly growing population while reducing environmental impacts. Working with partners and agricultural experts and by integrating sustainability criteria into all business decisions, we help farmers to create a positive impact on sustainable agriculture. That’s why we invest in a strong R&D pipeline, connecting innovative thinking with practical action in the field. Our portfolio comprises seeds and specifically selected plant traits, chemical and biological crop protection, solutions for soil management, plant health, pest control and digital farming. With expert teams in the lab, field, office and in production, we strive to find the right balance for success – for farmers, agriculture, and future generations. In 2021, our division generated sales of €8.2 billion. For more information, please visit www.agriculture.basf.com or any of our social media channels.
At BASF, we create chemistry for a sustainable future. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. Around 111,000 employees in the BASF Group contribute to the success of our customers in nearly all sectors and almost every country in the world. Our portfolio comprises six segments: Chemicals, Materials, Industrial Solutions, Surface Technologies, Nutrition & Care and Agricultural Solutions. BASF generated sales of €78.6 billion in 2021. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchange in Frankfurt (BAS) and as American Depositary Receipts (BASFY) in the U.S. Further information at www.basf.com.