Despite global fashion brands touting their desire and intention to achieve higher green operations, the complex nature of their global supply chains often inhibits the desire of the brands to use environmentally friendly materials.
However this issue can be tackled with the use of blockchain technology that underpins cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, believes TextileGenesis.
Blockchian can be used in the fashion industry to digitize the supply chain, allowing fashion brands to track clothes production from the raw materials to the finished product, which in turn can help the brands make the industry more transparent, believes the company which is based in Hong Kong and India.
According to a 2019 report by consulting firm McKinsey & Company, one of the top priority of fashion brands is sourcing sustainable materials. Fashion brands who that participated in the survey for the report reported their desire to become more transparent in their supply chains but only a handful has managed to achieve it, said the McKinsey report.
“Sustainability has really become mainstream,” says Amit Gautam, the founder of TextileGenesis.
“We see a heightened sense of urgency and a strong pull from the consumers as well as a push from brands to drive sustainability as the core value proposition.”
Clothing materials such as recycled cotton, lyocell (made from wood pulp) and viscose (made from wood) are planned to be used by some brands instead of using materials and fibers such as polyester and nylon, which contain plastics. But keeping track of the actual material that ultimately makes up their finished products is difficult because of the opaqueness of the supply chains.
“The textile industry is one of the most fragmented industries on the planet,” Gautam said. As many as seven different manufacturing stages across multiple countries could comprise the supply chain for a simple clothing item, he said. “The raw material sometimes exchanges 10 hands before it is converted into a t-shirt,” he added.
As a consequence to break this opaqueness, a record of every stage of production is being created by his company using blockchain technology.
The concept of blockchain is essentially based on a system of an online public ledger that creates a permanent and accessible record of every stage of the supply chain. A time-stamped record of the flow of physical products through the logistical network is provided by TextileGenesis by the use of digital tokens that are known as fiber coins. It is not possible to alter the tokens once they are logged into the system.
“With blockchain it is impossible to manipulate the results,” said Francois Souchet, a sustainability expert at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, an environmental non-profit working to improve the fashion industry’s environmental record. “It provides all actors across the supply chain with certainty that the information is true.”
“Once you have transparency within your supply chain, then you can reduce your environmental impact and improve overall quality,” he added.
(Adapted from CNN.com)