The fashion industry is under increasing scrutiny from consumers who demand proof of sustainable production. Supply chain traceability powered by blockchain may be the answer.
Consumers increasingly demand to know where the clothes they buy come from. For many, the desire is to be able to pull out their phone, scan a QR code, and view information in real-time on the source of all the raw materials in the garments they want to buy.
That requires supply chain transparency – a current gap within the fashion industry. Z-Aglet aims to solve that issue.
Supply chains in the fashion industry can be long, complex and sometimes poorly understood. There’s an added layer of difficulty because supply chain transparency is more than just knowing where the raw materials came from, it is also about who made them and how.
Beyond Tier One
Most fashion brands want to source sustainably, but many companies have not gone beyond their immediate tier-one suppliers: the reality is that raw materials go through many steps before they find their way into a consumer’s closet.
Take natural fabrics like viscose rayon as an example. Seedlings take root in a nursery before being transferred to a plantation to grow into trees. Harvested logs are then sent to a mill to be processed into wood pulp which goes into viscose-rayon production. Next, the viscose fiber is spun into yarn, sent on to a fabric maker, and shipped to garment factories. Obtaining access to accurate data at every juncture can be extremely challenging for a retail brand.
A ‘Systemic’ Challenge
One of the challenges today is the lack of platform standardization as different value chain actors in the fashion industry develop their own traceability systems. For consumers to be able to scan a QR code in a clothing store for product source information, the various systems will need to be interconnected.
A universal platform based on blockchain has interoperability as an in-built feature. One of the most powerful applications of blockchain is the ability to easily integrate data and functionalities from a diverse range of complementary technologies, systems, and processes. It also allows for peer review of the information to ensure data accuracy.
This is important because a transparent supply chain also helps support brands’ engagement with environmentally conscious consumers. Being able to talk about where raw materials are sourced from and how products are made, means fashion brands can empower consumers to make informed decisions based on the social, economic and environmental impact of their purchases. There is nothing more powerful in ethical marketing than showing consumers how businesses are positively impacting the communities they work with.