Navigating compliance for social and environmental regulations is easy for fashion brands…said no one ever.
Aside from the sheer volume of information that must be tracked and traced along the supply chain to answer new regulations continuously introduced and the increasing demand for transparency, what needs to be done and how it is disclosed is not only a challenge over time, but it also varies by country. This creates extra headaches and potential legal pitfalls for brands, especially those that sell globally.
Trimco Group, a provider of trims, labels, packaging and store decoration solutions, is helping fashion clients track and trace their complex supply chains to remain compliant and keep abreast of international regulations. And once brands know exactly what’s in their products, they can use Trimco’s labels, packaging, QR codes and other on-product signage to push out that message.
Trimco recently created a supply chain track-and-trace digital platform called Product DNA to help fashion companies monitor, measure and record their own sustainability actions and those of suppliers. Depending on the brand’s strategy, ESG compliance transparency can go from Tier 1 (garment factories) all the way to Tier 4 (the raw material suppliers).
The platform has three tiers, with the most popular module being the Certificate Manager (brands gather social and environmental scope and transaction certificates from their supply chain, monitoring their compliance globally or at the product level). No less important is the Track&Trace Module (brands tailor their account to measure and report on the sustainability marks they want, including weight-based claims according to the new EU strategy for sustainable and circular textiles and shoes), as well as on-product communication options using QR Codes to increase transparency to consumers and be aligned with the EU Digital Passport.
The fashion industry must deal with social compliance regulations such as the now in effect Uyghur Bill (U.S.), German Supply Chain Act, the Norwegian Transparency Act, and the New York Fashion Act, but others are about to come along as well, such as the EU Due Diligence Act.
Environmental regulations are also surfacing from different law initiatives, aiming at proper environmental labeling of packaging and textiles, to increase transparency to consumers and reduce greenwashing. This responsibility falls again into the arms of brands that must comply with different market requirements which affect all their on-product communication materials (labels, hangtags, QR codes, website). France’s Anti-waste and Circular Economy Law and its Environmental Labeling Decree, California’s law on recycling claims, Italian environmental labeling regulations for packaging, Bulgarian regulation for packaging, and the upcoming NY law on recycling claims are only a few examples of countries and markets that are aiming at offering more sustainable products and transparency to consumers while reducing greenwashing claims.
The latest EU strategy for sustainable and circular textiles is going even further and other markets seem to take the same direction using the weight-based claims: the exact amount of recycled material contained in a product must be declared.
“I would say that brands don’t want to make false claims or false statements; they honestly want to try to get this right,” said Camilla Mjelde, compliance and sustainability director of Trimco Group in a fireside chat with Sourcing Journal’s branded content manager Lauren Parker. “But with the speed of regulations and the challenge that different regulators really don’t speak to each other, it’s hard to navigate to make global packaging today that isn’t going to step on the toes in some market compared to the others.”
As a trims, labels, and packaging company that must comply with regulations for its own products, Trimco has an edge. The company wanted to make a shift in the trend and do more. “There are textile regulations, there are packaging regulations and then all the new waste recyclability claims and content claim regulations. We, at Trimco, are experts at this. This is what we do all the time and we love to be there to guide,” said Mjelde.
The risks of non-compliance are high, whether fines, product recalls or what Mjelde calls the “consumer watchdog.” But as its tagline “Together, We Act” attests, Trimco takes its partners seriously to work together for mutual gain.
Click the image above to watch the Fireside Chat and learn how Trimco Group can support your brand with your care labels, trims, and packaging compliance as well as supply chain traceability.