Innovation That Matters

| Photo source Haelixa

Using DNA for more transparent global supply chains


Unique markers are easily applied and provide reliable data for individual products

Spotted: Supply chain verification and traceability is a key part of helping businesses solve issues related to environmental impact, waste generation, social concerns, and ethical considerations. However, many existing solutions are not ideal — supply chain documentation or labels can be falsified and blockchain data can misrepresent the product, making it unable to detect if there has been a substitution.

Haelixa is taking a different approach to traceability by using DNA markers to identify materials at the source. The company, which was spun out of Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zürich), creates a unique DNA identifier for individual products. The markers, which are provided in liquid form ready to be sprayed onto a product, are permanent and harmless, and cannot be removed, tampered with, or altered.

Holly Berger, Haelixa Marketing Director, told Springwise “Since DNA is abundant, our solution is highly scalable. We have perfected the installation and application of our markers, which makes the implementation of Haelixa quite simple.” Once the markers are applied, products are tested by Haelixa to register them in the Haelixa database. Products can then be labelled as “Marked and Traced by Haelixa” to ensure buyers that a trustworthy traceability solution is in place. A QR code can also be incorporated, so that customers may access information on origin, supply chain data, or test results of a final product.

The company recently received an injection of capital from the Zürich Silk Association, which will help Haelixa to scale its operations. The company has also seen investment from speciality chemicals company Clariant AG, Zurich Cantonal Bank, and venture capital firm Verve Ventures.

As pressure grows to demonstrate that products and supply chains are truly sustainable, companies are increasingly turning to innovative traceability tools. In addition to Haelixa’s approach, Springwise has also recently spotted digital tools designed to increase the transparency of commercial fishing and miniature RFID tags that can be woven into clothing.

Written By: Lisa Magloff




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