When it comes to transparency into fashion products, there is an industry disconnect. Fashion consumers want more transparency about what’s in their products and how they are made, and U.S. and EU regulations push for supply chain traceability, but many brands and retailers still aren’t providing it.
The truth is, many companies don’t know what’s in their supply chains, or don’t have the resources or financial bandwidth to find out. That is why FibreTrace®, a global leader in traceability technologies, on Tuesday released FibreTrace® MAPPED—a free and turnkey digital traceability solution that maps the global textile supply chain from fiber to retail.
“At FibreTrace® we believe that transparency shouldn’t cost the Earth, so we decided to launch FibreTrace® MAPPED free of charge in the hope that we can encourage the industry to claim accountability and responsibility for their supply chains and be the change for a better future,” said FibreTrace® chief executive officer Shannon Mercer. “The lack of accountability within the textile industry has left the door wide open for social and environmental neglect and misconduct.”
An urgent need
While policymakers, consumers and investors continue to apply pressure for transparent supply chain mapping, 50 percent of the world’s largest fashion brands continue to disclose little or no information about their supply chain and only 12 percent of brands worldwide publish any insights into their raw material suppliers, according to the Fashion Revolution 2022 ‘Fashion Transparency Index.’
The shift in consumer consumption behaviors and growing demands for greater ethical and environmental responsibility has been a key driver for change. 60 percent of fashion consumers want more transparency about the production journey of their clothes and more than 40 percent of consumers surveyed in the U.S., more than 50 percent in Europe, and almost 70 percent in China say they want access to more information about how their clothes were made. Governments and governing bodies are listening, and transparency has become a priority on political agendas and legislative development from the USA’s FABRIC Act to the UNECE’s The Sustainability Pledge.
The platform, which launched globally on Jan. 17, provides transparency in one easy-to-use, globally accessible platform with no fees attached, eliminating the barrier to transparency for producers, manufacturers, brands and retailers.
The unique thing about the system is that it automatically creates live audits as purchase orders and transactions are happening throughout the global supply chain. “So now it has the ability not only to put all of your supply chain on one digital map for you to see and reference and continually improve on, but it becomes that one single source which can integrate with any system any PLM or any ERP,” said Mercer.
It can also upload and combine with any kind of certifications and impact data, from GOTS certifications to local labor compliance. Companies can use FibreTrace® templates featuring “basic bare minimum requirements” of what must be around a cotton bale or what must be around a T-shirt, for example. But Mercer pointed out that there’s also an ability for brands or suppliers to create their own product templates, depending on the demands of different brand and retail partners.
The idea is a single housing system for ESG reporting and certifications.
FibreTrace® MAPPED digital traceability is the first step into a more comprehensive platform already offered by the company. FibreTrace® VERIFIED, which was launched in March 2021, connects digital traceability with physical technology to provide integrity and authentication. Here, a patented, luminescent pigment is applied to fiber or yarn and audited at every stage of the supply chain to ensure the fiber you are promoting is in fact what you are selling. The system is fiber agnostic so it has universal applications.
Whether a company uses physical or digital traceability, isn’t the issue. The key is to put traceability in the forefront.
To learn more about the newly launched FibreTrace® MAPPED digital traceability, click here.