Certification and verification have been the bedrock of sustainable cotton for the past few years, with more standards and schemes appearing. Alongside them have come a proliferation of initiatives on transparency and traceability, some covering the full supply chain (GOTS) and some just part of it (the latter being most common). We have also moved from the tracing of documents to new developments in using markers and blockchain to identify cotton.

Traceability is suffering from a similar mission creep to standards. There are more and more organisations competing to offer more and more 'solutions'. However, many systems are incompatible with each other even where working in combination might be how they deliver something useful, be it full supply chain coverage, cross-system compatibility, and the ability to carry additional information (on impacts, for example). Even as more systems appear, there are so few changes in terms of full supply chain traceability and transparency down to the end of the supply chain.

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