Photo by Parker Burchfield on Unsplash

A sustainable future for the Apparel Industry

Supply Chains (SCs) are essential to your company operations; when not well organised, it will bring terrible effects and even lose your partners and customers’ trust.

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Large textile and apparel manufacturers who think of themselves as sustainable in their SC have struggled to bring customers transparently.  Industry manufacturers are mostly trusted suppliers to top global brands and have production facilities worldwide.  They do not only want to know t if your SC works; they want to be aware of the source of whatever you supply them.

Studies found that consumers would pay 2% to 10% more for goods from sources with transparent and sustainable SCs (MIT Sloan School of Management.) So, guaranteeing your SCs are sustainable is an essential pillar of your success.

Experts define Sustainability as ‘meeting the needs of today without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own.’

An increasing number of businesses and governments are currently taking a sustainable approach to care about their environmental, social and economic impact as manufacturers towards more sustainable procedures via new rulings.

The United Nations Global Compact delivers ten standards of Supply Chain Sustainability.  These principles consider your company performance over environmental impact, labour practices, human rights, and anti-corruption practices.  Following them means proving your enterprise value.

These principles should be applied in-house and promoted among partners and customers.  Your responsibility is to make sure they follow these standards across your SC.

The Apparel Industry is behind when talking about Sustainability.  Even though they are willing to transform and improve their businesses, implementing sustainable practices is slow-moving.

Issues such as the origin of raw materials and the fashion carbon footprint have appeared recently, but businesses are yet to implement them fully.

Supply Chain (SC) transparency has the power to drive multiple benefits across the Apparel Industry.

It is a core pillar to design a more sustainable fashion industry.  Regulators and consumers cannot determine product sustainability qualifications without visibility of organisations involved in the entire value chain and insights into all components and materials used.  So, there is a need to join forces to look into existing conditions of the Apparel SC and the best way to move forward.

SC solutions allow brands and manufacturers to make data-driven Risk Management decisions.  Industries can track down their products to raw materials through visibility and traceability solutions, understand possible risks, and gain deeper insights.

It is essential to know about your partners.

·      You cut down your business environmental effects as a manufacturer.

·      You safeguard your reputation when following the UN standards.

·       Others will look at you as a reliable partner to other businesses when being a SC sustainable company.

·       You grow as a company when creating transparent, sustainable SC and attracting commercial partners.

Alternatives to measure Sustainability

Employing software can benefit multifaceted SC; you require complete visibility and traceability about your partners and what they provide to you.  You can also build on supplier codes of conduct or assist them in acquiring ISO and other official recognition.

Start building sustainable, transparent SCs by:

·       Set your standards to follow; choose partners that will commit to meeting them in a short time and stand by them.

·       Ensure you can work with direct and upstream suppliers to measure SC sustainability at all levels.

·       Trace source ingredients and materials

·       Use your purchasing power to influence partakers on how your suppliers must work.

·       Ensure you can work with direct and upstream suppliers to measure SC sustainability at all levels.

·       Collect, analyse and share data regarding your SC. By applying the SC data-driven approach, you can pinpoint potential Sustainability advancements and operational issues such as incompetence and blockages.

·       Carry on audits and communicate with your suppliers in a collaborative effort, identifying opportunities for improvement that benefit all.

·       Build on a governance structure for Supply Chain Management.

·       Define who will be accountable for the performance of your pre-established standards to guarantee your SC stays sustainable on an everyday basis.

Conclusions: recent reports consider that almost 80% of a consumer business carbon footprint comes from its SC.  the Apparel Industry requires implementing sustainable and loyal relationships with stakeholders to build a more accessible global market.

Are you taking proper steps to become SC sustainable company and bring transparency to your SCs?

Dave Food

M: +44 7775 861863

Photo by Parker Burchfield on Unsplash