Using DNA to track supply chain

Pile of denim jeans at a store

Consumers are becoming more interested in sustainability and want to know for sure where products come from. One way to do this is to use DNA. For example, a supplier in the US grows organic cotton. The cotton is then sprayed with a unique DNA combination. This makes it easy to find out if a final product is made from that cotton. No one can substitute cheaper, non-organic cotton anywhere in the supply chain.

Another concern is labor practices. Consumers want to be sure the workers who produce the goods are treated well. The US has established new rules requiring companies to prove that imported goods were not made with forced labor. If they can't, then the goods are seized at the border. From January to March in 2023, border officials seized almost $1 billion worth of shipments.

The supply chain for manufacturers has become extremely complex. Proctor & Gamble, for example, has up to 50,000 direct suppliers. Each of those suppliers might have hundreds of other suppliers to make their product. Without the DNA spray, it's easy to replace genuine goods with cheaper or unethical ones. And it's hard to find out if that has happened. With the new DNA technique, that problem is solved.

How does DNA help companies and consumers? Do Homework
Do you care where products come from? Does it influence what you buy? Do Homework
Explain the supply chain for a pair of denim jeans. What suppliers are involved? Do Homework
What will the supply chain look like 10 years from now? Do Homework