The Surging Power of Traceability and Transparency in the Fashion Industry
In the fast-moving world of fashion, where trends evolve and consumer preferences shift, one constant has emerged as non-negotiable: transparency. The intricate web of the fashion supply chain, spanning across continents and tiers, demands a new level of traceability that not only meets regulatory demands but also aligns with consumers’ ethical expectations. The recent announcement by the European Commission regarding Digital Product Passports for textiles only highlights the urgency of the matter. This blog dives into the increasing importance of traceability in the textile and fashion sector and sheds light on how ettos is poised to reshape the industry with its cutting-edge digital platform.
The Changing Landscape of Fashion
Gone are the days when the origin of a finished product was the sole concern for consumers. Today’s conscientious buyers demand more—they seek to understand the journey of a garment across the supply chain. This shift has been catalysed by several factors, including:
- Regulatory Environment: Governments worldwide are mandating greater transparency in supply chains. Recent European Commission regulations demand product passports to ensure ethical sourcing and sustainability.
- Consumer Awareness: Digital connectivity has empowered consumers with information. They demand clarity about the ethical practices and sustainability commitments of the brands they choose to support. A recent article in Kearney revealed that around 50% of the world’s 250 largest fashion brands/retailers disclose their tier 1 suppliers, about 30% disclose their tier 2 suppliers, and only 12% disclose select raw material suppliers.
- Social Responsibility: Brands are being held accountable for their impact on labour conditions, environmental conservation, and the communities they operate in. Kearney highlights that today, 20% of global cotton comes from China’s Xinjiang region, where forced labour is prevalent.
In response, the fashion industry needs to become more aware of the need for comprehensive traceability—a direct path that connects every link in the supply chain.
Why Traceability Matters
The recent turmoil brought by disruptions like the COVID-19 pandemic and geopolitical conflicts has underscored the fragility of global value chains. A hands-off approach to supply chain management, reliant solely on tier 1 suppliers, is no longer sustainable. Brands are realising two critical reasons why traceability matters:
- Mitigating Disruption: Unforeseen disruptions can shatter supply chains, leading to delays, inefficiencies, and compromised quality. Traceability offers the visibility needed to anticipate and respond effectively to such disruptions.
- Ethical Accountability: The onus is on brands to prove the ethical origins of their goods, especially in the wake of concerns about forced labour. Transparent supply chains with verified information are crucial to substantiate claims and satisfy consumer demands for authenticity.
Creating a Transparent Future
The challenges of achieving end-to-end traceability are multifaceted, involving data aggregation, collaboration, and technology integration. However, the rewards are monumental. As Kearney emphasises:
‘Solving for traceability has become urgent to meet growing demands and regulations for a sustainable, ethical supply chain.’
Brands that embrace comprehensive traceability stand to gain not just regulatory compliance but also consumer trust, operational efficiency, and opportunities for innovative business models.
The Power of Technology
As the industry grapples with these challenges, technology emerges as a powerful enabler. Start-ups and established players are developing traceability-focused solutions that promise to address these concerns. However, the complexity of the issue demands a comprehensive approach.
ettos: Pioneering Comprehensive Traceability
ettos , a transformative digital platform by Lyfcycle , stands at the forefront of this movement. With a history rooted in sustainability and innovation, ettos is set to revolutionise fashion supply chains. The core philosophy of ettos aligns perfectly with the critical elements required for effective traceability.
- End-to-End Integration: The pathway to traceability starts from the very inception of the product. ettos enables fashion brands to integrate seamlessly from the farmer to the manufacturer, thus orchestrating greater control over the supply chain. This proactive approach minimises value chain breakage and enhances stability.
- Consumer Connection: Today’s fashion consumers demand authenticity and ethical practices. ettos creates a direct link between the end consumer and the origins of the product, fostering a sense of trust and engagement.
- Data-Backed Assurance: In a landscape where substantiated claims are paramount, ettos offers real-time data, and evidence at the batch order level. Brands can confidently showcase their ethical and environmental practices, backed by concrete data and analytics.
- Digital Hub for Transparency: The ettos platform acts as a central hub that captures every aspect of the supply chain, from raw materials to finished products. This straightforward dashboard provides access to the much-needed transparency that brands seek.
As the fashion industry navigates the evolving landscape of transparency and sustainability, the significance of traceability cannot be overstated. The demands of consumers and regulatory bodies converge, creating an environment where only the genuinely transparent will thrive. ettos, with its ground-breaking approach, is poised to provide brands with the tools they need to navigate this new reality. The journey from fibre to end product is no longer a mystery—it’s a story of transparency, ethics, and innovation, brought to life by ettos.