Sustainability may be on everyone’s lips but the apparel and textile industries are slowly coming to the realization that true sustainability requires traceability. The very nature of the long, interconnected global supply chain means that without it, there’s often no way to be sure product claims are backed up by the materials and processes that were actually used. Plus, increased scrutiny from the new, informed consumer is creating an environment in which every stakeholder must ask what he or she really knows about the products they’re making and offering.
This episode focuses on the futility of setting sustainability goals without including traceability, how doing good can also be good for the bottom line and the technology that promises to get us there.
Below are excerpts from a discussion with two industry professionals well versed in the need for sustainability and the reasons it goes hand-in-hand with traceability.
David Greenstein, CEO of Himatsingka America, on the “execution gap” between good intentions and the lack of verifiable products in the market:
“Companies out there that you think are doing something special are missing the mark to various degrees. Sometimes they’ve instituted good protocols internally, spoken to their investors about it, made large claims about when they will do this or that but when it really comes down to the engine room where things are really happening on the day to day basis, I think that’s where you find there is a gap between what they’re saying and what they can actually execute or what they’re prepared to execute.”
Andrew Olah, founder of the Kingpins denim trade shows as well as the Transformers summit series, on why it will be consumers who ultimately push the industry to change:
“I see it as a generational thing. Eileen Fisher, Nike and Patagonia have been into this for a long, long time. They’ve been hitting baby boomers. What you’re seeing, and Everlane is perfect example of this, is aiming and hitting the millennials. There’s so much data on millennials and their interest in data. If you have the largest generation in history—I think there are 79 million millennials—if these people love companies that are open and provide data that’s believable, they’ll be interested in those companies and really notice the companies that aren’t. And that’s one of the costs of not being sustainable. If a millennial can go online and see everything they want to see about Everlane and their jeans, why would they buy from another brand that doesn’t say anything? What is that cost?”
This episode was brought to you by HomeGrown Cotton by Himatsingka, the world’s first fully traceable and verifiable American upland cotton. With our patented tagging and verification process, cotton is tested and verified at every step on the journey from field to store.