Haelixa X Nettle Circle

© Haelixa
© Haelixa

Zurich, Switzerland

Marking and tracing local nettle from the Himalayas.

Haelixa has partnered with Nettle Circle to provide the first availably known traceable nettle fibre. The project has been initiated to bring traceability to nettle fibre grown naturally in the Himalayas. The collaboration was launched at the Future Fabric Expo in London on June 28th-29th 2022, where brands and designers will witness the potential of traced nettle fibres in yarns, different textiles, and finished products.

Nettle Circle provides a sustainable regenerative natural fibre that is versatile, high-performing, circular, and now traceable with Haelixa marking technology from bark to end consumer product. This next generation of natural fibres grows wildly and can be cultivated with a marginal ecological footprint.

In Summer 2021 the first batches were marked with a unique Haelixa DNA marker made specifically for Nettle Circle to confirm the authenticity of the Himalayan origins of the wildly growing nettle plant. Nettle bark is extracted from the nettle plant to produce fibres, yarns, and eventually textiles.

To ensure traceability at the source, the nettle barks are marked on-site with the unique DNA marker formulation, which is GOTS and OekoTex Standard 100 compliant. The robustness of Haelixa DNA markers has proven to withstand raw material transformation into fibre and all stages of industrial processing, The markers were verified and detected in the produced yarn with a quick PCR forensic test. By verifying the presence of this unique DNA marker in a garment, it can prove that the garment is made of nettle which has been responsibly sourced in the Himalayas by the Nettle Circle.

Brands and retailers are currently taking part in the global race to map textile supply chains and introduce physical traceability solutions like Haelixa, with the aim to comply with stricter regulations and prove claims and qualities that consumers prize. Nettle is not an exception and traceability will be required at every step of the supply chain. As opposed to established textile commodities, having an early collaboration with Nettle Circle, allows nettle to get transparency right from the beginning. This results in a new level of visibility and accountability across the supply chain.

Furthermore, nettle is an important livelihood for people living in the remote mountainous villages of the Himalayas. Promoting the use of this environmentally friendly material brings visibility to the communities in the Himalayan Villages, while DNA marking traceability technology meets the fundamental demands of the market and provides a clear competitive advantage to brands.

“We are excited to support Nettle Circle in their efforts to bring traceability into nettle value chains and promote the use of such fibres, whose production has a low environmental impact. By providing forensic evidence of fibre origin and identity, we are helping to establish transparent supply chains and credible sustainable alternatives, which is even more relevant for emerging options such as nettle, where there are no formal certification routes,” commented Michela Puddu, CEO and co-founder at Haelixa.

“We are proud to have Haelixa partner with Nettle Circle to provide a physical traceability solution and transparency from the fields to finished products. Since nettle fibre is new to the textile market, we wanted to ensure from the beginning that Nettle Circle fibres were uniquely identifiable. Using Haelixa’s unique technology, allows Nettle Circle to guarantee full traceability and transparency in the entirety of the nettle fibre supply chain. Thus, supporting our customer’s sustainability commitments. Together with Haelixa, our next steps are to scale-up nettle production as the next generation of natural fibers,” added Cornelia Bamert, CEO & Founder at Nettle Circle.


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