Supply Chain

The importance of transparent supply chains in fashion

November 29, 2022

Why transparency in the fashion industry matters

Brands and consumers alike increasingly value sustainability and recognise it as a core, indispensable element of business. The fashion industry is well known for its environmental and social impacts. Garments go through many different processes, travelling between several countries and passing through multiple factories.

Long, complex and delocalised supply chains, fragmented over different continents, make it difficult for fashion brands to closely monitor their operations. Companies often don’t fully understand the true social and environmental impacts of their business practices due to a lack of visibility along the supply chain. The absence of transparency in fashion supply chains hinders progress, as what’s not measured can’t be fixed.

Implementing sustainability in brands’ operations and achieving traceability not only makes it easier to reduce their impacts, it also improves efficiency and resilience in supply chains, which allows brands to take control, monitoring costs and detecting risks. Sustainability can represent a strategic business tool that allows for major competitive advantages in terms of market penetration, brand identity and community development.

Learning from the past

Due to poor monitoring and limited control over fashion supply chains, high environmental and social security risks arise in this sector. One of the worst examples of this can be traced back to April 24, 2013 when a garment factory called Rana Plaza in Dhaka, Bangladesh collapsed killing 1,134 workers. This tragedy exposed the major lack of transparency in global fashion supply chains that has detrimental consequences for many garment workers.

After the disaster, a global movement called Fashion Revolution began ​​to campaign with citizens, brands and policymakers to demand a fair and safe fashion industry. 2023 marks the 10th anniversary of Rana Plaza with supporters of Fashion Revolution asking fashion brands to tell them #WhoMadeMyClothes and #WhatsInMyClothes. Many brands and manufacturers in response are increasingly sharing where their clothes are made and the impact their materials are having on the environment.

This event shows how the power of transparency is truly a life-saving one, it’s needed to prevent disasters like the Rana Plaza incident. By shining a light on opaque supply chains where poor working conditions and environmental exploitation thrive, transparency has an immense power to bring about positive change.

Fashion Revolution Week is a great opportunity for anyone to get involved in driving change, for fashion brands it’s the perfect occasion to showcase their progress with sustainability and prove to be working towards transparency in their supply chains.

The power of transparent supply chains

We are facing a clear turning point where transparency and knowledge of the textile supply network has become a priority for the sector. With the approaching climate crisis, it’s imperative for brands to be appropriately equipped to deal with growing challenges in fashion supply chains.

Individual certifications are no longer enough for fashion brands to truly mitigate their impacts, instead a more comprehensive and holistic approach is needed to measure impacts and drive improvements throughout the value chain.

Consumers all over the world have become more aware of the responsibility of businesses to drive positive change, and many are willing to pay more for sustainable products or services. 34% of the global population to be precise, according to The Global Sustainability Study 2021.

This shows how increasing transparency in fashion supply chains also represents an opportunity for businesses to build trust, and to show their customers and the public that they’re serious about workers’ rights and environmental preservation.

Product iD Card powered by Sustainable Brand Platform

How to achieve transparent supply chains

At Sustainable Brand Platform we believe progress is needed when it comes to transparency in fashion supply chains. This is why we’ve been developing an array of digital services that provide fashion companies all the instruments they need to obtain a global assessment of their sustainable performance.

By digitalising the fashion supply chain, we simplify sustainability data management and make it easier for brands to take control of their supply chain and mitigate their impacts. Through our digital toolbox we make it simple and affordable for brands to achieve and showcase true sustainability.

By using our services, sustainability reporting can be simplified and costs reduced. Supply chains can be mapped, traceability achieved and risks be managed. Suppliers’ performances can be measured based on ESG indicators, sustainable communication be more effective and trustworthy and greenwashing avoided.

Sustainable Brand Platform's goal is to give brands full control of their sustainability data. This can facilitate decision making, lower costs for reporting and compliance, support in risk mitigation and give access to green finance.

Sustainability is in demand and brands have to take action. Sustainable Brand Platform can be a great starting point towards truly transparent supply chains.

Ready to start? Book a demo of our solutions here.

Gaia Rattazzi
Gaia is a content creator from Italy and former SBP team member. She passionately advocates for sustainable and ethical fashion and writes for several fashion industry-related media with a solution-focused approach.

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