Welspun India, Mumbai-based world’s second largest terry towel producer developed the technology to verify the origin of cotton, after a large customer terminated a contract following mislabeling of provenance of fibre in certain consignments. It has emerged as the first global textile entity to patent a fibre-tracking technology, turning adversity into opportunity.

Welspun has partnered with global forensic science company Oritain Global to develop the solution, Wel- Trak, using RFID and customised software. It involved an investment of around $6 mn (38.5 cr) and more than six months of rigorous efforts. The technology enables it verify the origin of cotton at each stage of the manufacturing process to ensure an authentic final product, Chief Executive Dipali Goenka said.

Adversities happen in the world of business. When they looked into it (the crisis with the large customer), they felt that there were gaps. Today, they are proud to say they have Wel-Trak, the patented process, which helps them track the cotton to its source. Apart from deploying this solution in several cotton growing areas across the globe, Welspun India is now looking at helping cotton farmers grow better quality cotton and also encourage them try organic cotton. Being India’s largest consumer of cotton, Welspun is currently working with farmers at various cotton growing locations across the country to help them adopt better quality cotton crops. The company is guiding and mentoring the farmers on right practices, right seed and right pesticides.

Cotton farmers are being mentored on the kind of crops to grow after cotton harvest so as to help them improve the overall soil nutrients like nitrogen. Currently, they are guiding over 3,000 cotton farmers in the Wardha region near Nagpur and the Nakhatrana region near Bhuj and we are aiming to take it to at least 10,000 cotton farmers soon. The company is looking to cover at least a fifth of farmers supplying cotton to it by 2021.

On its end-products, Welspun would provide details of not just the origin of the cotton but also the practices adopted by the farmers who had supplied that cotton, using the fibre-tracking technology. Welspun making efforts to forge more alliances with global hospitality and healthcare giants for supply of home textile products and strengthening brands like Christy, Hygrocotton and Spaces. Welspun for the first time last fical year crossed $1 bn mark in revenue and now is confident of achieving its target of doubling revenue to more than $2 bn by 2022. Welspun is also planning investing on augmenting integrated manufacturing infrastructure for ancillary units for intermediates including trims and packaging material.