Continuing last week's blog post (Why Supply Chain Transparency Is Important Beyond Tier 1), we are breaking down 5 practical things you can start doing to improve transparency in your supply chain.
1 | Map your supply chain
It is impossible to protect your workers and the environment from exploitation if you don’t know who your suppliers are. The first step is therefore to start mapping your supply chain. Thankfully, there are a few tools that you can use to help you with the process:
2 | Seek out certifications
Certifications can help take the hard work out of tracing your product from fiber to finished product. For example, a GOTS certification provides third party verification that a product has been organically produced and manufactured in a socially and environmentally responsible way. THR3EFOLD's platform of ethical garment factories (and mills soon to be released) can help you filter factories to find the right certification for you.
3 | Investigate new traceability technologies
Blockchain and molecular tagging are new technologies that enable product traceability from farm to shelf. Blockchain tracks the location of a garment from fiber to factory through a digital ledger or passport. Molecular tagging is a process in which fibers are embedded with tamper proof molecular tags that can be read and used to verify a fiber from farm to shelf. Tags can be embedded with all sorts of information including the presence of recycled or organic materials along with the exact location where the fiber was grown. Although not yet mainstream, educating yourself on these technologies will prepare you for incorporating them into your sourcing practices once more readily available.
4 | Share your supply chain information with the public
As you start mapping your supply chain, don’t hold this information to yourself, bring the public along with you for the journey. Being open and honest about what you find and how you plan to improve your sourcing practices helps build trust with customers. Disclosing the good, the bad and the ugly builds trust with your customers as you grow on your sustainability journey. Check out companies like H&M and Nudie Jeans who are doing this really well.
5 | Advocate for change
Where possible, be an advocate for supply chain transparency. Every voice counts, so get behind legislation like the New York Fashion Act and movements like Fashion Revolution Week to help shift the industry in the right direction.
There are many things you can start doing to bring about greater transparency in your supply chain. It will take time, courage and commitment but the pay off of creating a supply chain that is supportive of people and the planet - is surely something worth striving for. For the latest info and tips on ethical and sustainable production, subscribe to our weekly newsletter.