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Why the Open Apparel Registry Is Changing its Name

An open-source platform that has mapped tens of thousands of garment-manufacturing facilities across more than 130 countries is gaining a new purpose—plus, a new name.

The Open Apparel Registry, which helped propagate critical apparel-industry data that was previously absent, inconsistent or locked away, will now do the same for multiple sectors, including sporting goods, beauty, consumer packaged goods and electronics.

Rechristened the Open Supply Hub, the expanded platform will provide standardized name and address data and universal IDs for production facilities around the world, enabling connections between formerly incompatible datasets and encouraging collaboration between stakeholders who share segments of their supply chains.

“Globally, organizations are preparing for a wave of new ESG reporting requirements. The volume of data shared will be enormous,” said Natalie Grillon, executive director of the Open Supply Hub, which is now in an invitation-only beta phase. “It’s therefore absolutely critical that reporting is built on a reliable and collaborative foundation in order to bring about the supply chain improvements we desperately need.”

Supply chain data is “notoriously opaque, siloed and inaccessible, which has historically benefitted very few,” she added. A “reliable, open” dataset that creates a “ single source of truth” for identifying facilities across entire sectors could change that.

Having an open data tool is an important resource for anyone concerned with workers’ rights, said Srik Gopal, managing partner at the nonprofit Humanity United. “It can be a vital platform to monitor and address violations and other issues, as well as a trustworthy data source that can identify connections between supplier facilities and brands, helping to build leverage and make meaningful change for workers,” Gopal said.

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Leigh Anne DeWine, director of social responsibility at Amazon, which has provided the platform with funding, also welcomed the broader outlook.

“We’ve contributed to the Open Apparel Registry since 2020 given our shared mission to foster transparency across supply chains,” DeWine said. “We know that Open Supply Hub and its standardized supply chain data will be a key piece in identifying areas where we can collectively focus our attention, with the goal that products and services are being provided in a way that respects human rights and the environment.”

Open Supply Hub
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“Radical transparency” is essential to creating accountability for “more equitable and climate-positive industries,” said Leslie Johnston, CEO of Laudes Foundation, another backer of the platform.

“This starts with openly sharing supply chain data,” she said. “At Laudes Foundation, we are committed to nurturing a growing ecosystem of organizations advocating for, collecting and using data for public good. We look forward to our continued partnership with Open Supply Hub in its mission to ensure that data is accessible, open, relevant, and used to improve conditions across multiple industries.”

Like its predecessor, the Open Supply Hub will be governed by a multi-stakeholder board of directors with a broad range of representation and expertise, including the private sector, civil society and factory groups. Board members will be announced closer to the site’s official launch.