A successful collaboration between research and industry


To set up a system of social and environmental traceability for the textile, food and cosmetics sectors.


FairTraceIcareHES-SO Valais-WallisThe Ark Foundation

The Accelerator has produced some great financial success stories, such as that of FairTrace. This young company's story began with a Swiss Commission for Technology and Innovation project, which associated Importexa, a Vaud-based SME, with the Icare Institute and the HES-SO Valais-Wallis. Importexa specialises in made-to-measure clothing and accessories, and had been trying for several years to establish long-term partnerships with manufacturing sites. The company approached Icare and the HES-SO Valais-Wallis, with a view to improving its ability to monitor its suppliers, and so the CTI project was born.

Real-time information about suppliers

The two institutes produced a real-time information system that enables a product to be tracked at each stage of manufacturing. The information can be entered, in the field, using fixed or mobile equipment. This information is fed back to the user who exploits it and can, if they wish, make it available to their clients.

As the development and marketing of a traceability tool was not part of Importexa's core business, a new company, FairTrace SA, was created at TechnoArk in Sierre, very close to the partner institutes.

A marketable product is being developed

On discovering how useful the application was for the company's own purposes, Importexa decided to continue developing it, to make it into a proper product that could not only be marketed to other companies within the textile field, but also to other sectors such as cosmetics or food.

In order to achieve this, a project was established at The Ark's Accelerator by the end of 2013, its objective being the large-scale use of the "FairTrace" application. This involved preparing the infrastructure for release of the software, increasing the standardisation of the software, developing a tool for gaining new clients and preparing for extension into the cosmetics industry. This project rapidly brought some tangible results, in that it was already providing employment for two people by the end of 2013. And this was only the beginning...

Visit FairTrace's website here.

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