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FTA’s New Initiative Supports Supply Chain Transparency

When it’s deliver-or-die, supply chains become the lifeblood of a company. To that end, the fashion industry has embraced technology to navigate today’s hyper-complicated supply chain, with myriad solutions shaping the first, middle and last mile. Call it Sourcing 2.0.

The Foreign Trade Association (FTA) launched the Business Environmental Performance Initiative (BEPI), a new business-driven service intended to improve the environmental performance of supplying factories and farms worldwide.

Focused on water use, pollution, water management and related issues, the BEPI system works at the last production level, letting the producer take ownership of the knowledge acquired and to pass it down the tiers of the supply chain. Additionally, BEPI offers producers a three-pronged assessment system with on-site support to identify environmental areas where progress is needed most.

BEPI managing director Stuart Harker, said, “Working together within the BEPI framework, retailers, importers and brands can increase transparency in their supply chains and raise awareness on high priority environmental aspects.” He added, “In doing so, they can improve the operational performance of their producers, reduce costs and protect their reputational risk.”

As global demand for transparency grows, the FTA has set out to increase its support businesses’ efforts to develop responsible business practices. Over a decade ago, FTA created the Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI) to support improved working conditions in supply chains. It currently counts more than 1,300 participants. Jan Eggert, FTA director general, noted, “With a similar purpose we are now launching BEPI and we are looking forward to working with businesses to develop more environmentally efficient supply chains.”

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